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These two are the two erotic dia- 
logues of Plato. Pheedrus is the 
originator of both 

Eros as conceived by Plato. Dif- 
ferent sentiment prevalent in 
Hellenic antiquity and in 
modern times. Position of 
women in Greece * 

Eros, considered as the great sti- 
mulus to improving philoso- 
phical communion. Personal 
Beauty, the great point of ap- 
proximation between the world 
of sense and the world of Ideas. 
Gradual generalisation of the 

All men love Good, as the means 
of Happiness, but they pursue it 
by various means. The name 
Bros is confined to one special 
case of this large variety . . 

Desire of mental copulation and 
procreation, as the only attain- 
able likeness of immortality, re- 
guires the sight of personal 
eauty as an originating sti- 

Highest exaltation of the erotic 
impulse in a few privileged 
minds, when it ascends gra- 
dually to the love of Beauty in. 
genere. This is the most absorb- 
ing sentiment of all 

Purposet)f the Symposion, to con- 
trast this Platonic view of Eros 
with several different views of 
it previously enunciated by the 
other speakers ; closing with a 
panegyric on Sokrates, by the 
drunken Alkibiades 

Views of Eros presented by Ph- 
drus, Pausamas, Eryximachus, 
Aristophanes, Agathon .. .. 


discourse of Sokrates from reve- 
lation of Diotima. He describes 
Eros as not a God, but an inter- 
mediate Daemon between Gods 
and men, constantly aspiring to 
divinity, but not attaining it . . 9 
Analogy of the erotic aspiration 
with that of the philosopher, 
who knows his own ignorance 
and thirsts for knowledge . . . . 10 
Eros as presented in the Pluedrus 
Discourse of Lvsias, and 
counter-discourse of Sokrates, 
adverse to Eros Sokrates is 
seized with remorse, and recants 
in a high-flown panegyric on 

Eros 11 

Panegyric Sokrates admits that 
the influence of Eros is a variety 
of madness, but distinguishes 
good and bad varieties of mad- 
ness, both coining from the Gods. 
Good madness is far better than 

sobriety ib. 

Poetical mythe delivered by So- 
krates, describing the immor- 
tality and pre-existence of the 
soul, and its pre-natal condition 
of partial companionship with 

Gods and eternal Ideas 12 

Operation of such pre-natal expe- 
rience upon the intellectual fa- 
culties of man Comparison and 
combination of particular sensa- 
tions indispensable Reminis- 
cence 13 

Reminiscence is kindled up in the 
soul of the philosopher by the 
aspect of visible Beauty, which 
is the great link between the 
world of sense and the world of 

Ideas 14 

Elevating influence ascribed, both 



in Pluedrus and Symposion, to 
Eros Philosophus. Mixture in 
the mind of Plato, of poetical 
fancy and religious mysticism, 

with dialectic theory 15 

Differences between Symposion and 
Phii'drus. In -dwelling concep- 
tions assumed by the former, 
pre-natal experiences by the 

latter 17 

Nothing but metaphorical immor- 
tality recognised in Symposion ib, 
Form or Idea of JJeanty presented 
singly and exclusively in Sym- 
posion 18 

Kroa recognised, both in Pluedrus 
and Symposion, as affoiding the 
initiatory stimulus to philosophy 
Not so recognised in Plwdon, 
Thea:tCtus, and elsewhere .. . Hi. 
Concluding scene and speech of 
Alkibiades in the Symposion 
Behaviour of Sokrates to Alki- 
biadcs and other handsome 

youths 19 

Perfect self-command of Sokrates 
proof against every sort of 

trial 20 

Drunkenness of others at the close 
of the Symposion Sokiates is 
not affected by it, but continues 

his dialectic process 21 

Symposion ami Phsedon each is 
'the antithesis and complement 

of the other 22 

Symposion of Plato compared with 

that of Xenpphon ib. 

Small proportion of the serious, in 

the Xenophontie Symposion . . 24 
Platonic Symposion more ideal and 
transcendental than the Xeno- 
phontic 25 

Second half of the Phrpdrus 
passes into a debate on Rhetoric. 
Eros is considered as a subject 

for rhetorical exercise 

Lysias is called a logographer by 
active politicians. Contempt 
conveyed by the word. Sokrates 
declares that the only question 
is, Whether a man writes well 

or ill? 27 

Question about teaching the art 
of writing well or speaking well. 
Can it be taught upon system 
or principle? Or does the suc- 
cessful Rhetor succeed only by 

unsystematic knack ? 28 

Theory of Sokrates that all art 
of persuasion must be founded 
upon a knowledge of the truth, 
and of gradations of resemblance 
to the truth ib. 


Comparison made by Sokrates be- 
tween the discourse of Lysias 
and his own. Eros is differently 
understood : Sokrates defined 
what he meant by it : Lysias 
did not define 2& 

Logical processes Definition and 
Division both of them exem- 
plified in the two discourses of 
Sokrates ib. 

View of Sokrates that there is 
no real Art of Rhetoric, except 
what is already comprised in 
Dialectic The rhetorical teach- 
ing is empty and useless . . . . 30 

What the Art of Rhetoric ought to 
be Analogy of Hippokrates and 
the medical Art 3L 

Art of Rhetoric ought to include 
a systematic classification of 
minds with all their varieties, 
and of discourses with all their 
varieties. The Rhetor must 
know how to apply the one to 
the other, suitably to each par- 
ticular case 32 

The Rhetorical Artist must farther 
become possessed of real truth, 
as well as that which his auditors 
believe to be truth. He is not 
sufficiently rewarded for this 
labour 33 

Question about Writing As an 
Art, for the purpose of instruc- 
tion, it can do littleReasons 
why. Writing may remind the 
reader of what he already knows ib. 

Neither written words, nor con- 
tinuous speech, will produce any 
serious effect in teaching. Dia- 
lectic and cross-examination are 
necessary 34 

The Dialectician and Cross- Exami- 
ner is the only man who can 
really teach. If the \\riter can 
do this, he is more than a writer 37 

Lysias is only a logographer : Isq- 
krates promises to become a phi- 
losopher 38 

Date of the Pha?drus not an early 
dialogue ib. 

Criticism given by Plato on the 
three discourses His theory of 
Rhetoric is more Platonic than 
Sokratic ib. 

His theory postulates, in the Rhe- 
tor, knowledge already assured- 
it assumes that all the doubts 
have been already removed . . 39 

The Expositor, with knowledge and 
logical process, teaches minds un- 
occupied and willing to learn . . ib. 

The Rnetor does not teach, but 



persuades persons with minds 
pre-occupied guiding them me- 
thodically from error to truth . . 40 

He must then classify the minds 
to be persuaded, and the means 
of persuasion or varieties of dis- 
course. He must know how to 
fit on the one to the other in 
each particular case 41 

Plato's Idfnl of the Rhetorical Art 
involves in part incompatible 
conditions the Wise man or phi- 
losopher will never be listened 
to by the public ib. 

The other part of the Platonic RUal 
is grand but unattainable 
breadth of psychological data and 
classified modes of discourse . . 42 

Plato's ideal grandeur compared 
with the rhetorical teachers- 
Usefulness of these teachers for 
the wants of an accomplished 
man 44 

The Rhetorical teachers conceived 
the Art too narrowly : Plato con- 
ceived it too widely. The prin- 
ciples of an Art are not required 
to be explained to all learners . . 45 

Plato includes in his conception of 
Art, the application thereof to 
now paiticular cases. This can 
never be taught by rule . . . . 46 

Plato's charge against the Rhe- 
torical teachers is not made 
out 47 


Plato has not treated Lysias fairly, 
in neglecting his greater works, 
and selecting for criticism an 
erotic exercise for a private circle 47 

No fair comparison can be taken 
between this exercise of Lysias 
and the discourses delivered by 
Sokrates in the Phaedrus .. .. 48 

Continuous discourse, either writ- 
ten or spoken, inefficacious as a 
means of instruction to the igno- 
rant 4i> 

Written matter is useful as a me- 
morandum for persons who know 
or as an elegant pastime . . . . 50 

Plato's didactic theories are 
pitched too high to be realised . . 51 

No one has ever been found com- 
petent to solve the difficulties 
raised by Sokrates, Arkesilaus, 
Karneades, and the negative 
vein of philosophy ib. 

Plato's ideal philosopher can only 
be realised under the hypothesis 
of a pre-existent and omniscient 
soul, stimulated into full remini- 
scence here 62 

Dilfereut proceeding of Plato in 
the Timoms . . 55 

Opposite tendencies co-existent in 
Plato's mind Extreme of the 
Transcendental or Absolute 
Extreme of specialising adapta- 
tion to individuals and occasions 54 


Character of dialogues immediately 
preceding much transcen- 
dental assertion. Opposite cha- 
racter of the Parmenides . . . . 50 

Sokrates is the juvenile defend- 
ant Parmenides the veteran 
censor and cross-examiner. Par- 
menides gives a specimen of 
exercises to be performed by the 
philosophical aspirant ib. 

Circumstances ana persons of the 
Parmenides 57 

Manner in which the doctrine of 
Pannenides was impugned. 
Manner in which his partisan 
Zeno defended him 58 

Sokrates here impugns the doctrine 
of Zeno. He affirms the Platonic 
theory of ideas separate from 
sensible objects, yet participable 
by them 69 

Parmenides and Zeno admire the 
philosophical ardour of Sokrates. 
Parrnenides advances objections 
against the Platonic theory of 
Ideas 60 

What Ideas does Sok rates recog- 
nise? Of the Just and Good? 
Yes. Of Man, Horse, &c? 
Doubtful. Of Hair, Mud, <fec? 
No ib. 

Parmenidea declares that no object 
in nature is mean to the philo- 
eopher 61 

Remarks upon this Contrast be- 
tween emotional and scientific 
classification ib. 

Objections of Pannenides How 
can objects participate in the 
Ideas. Each cannot have the 
whole Idea, nor a part thereof . . 62 

Comparing the Idea with the sen- 



sible objects partaking in the 
Idea, there is a likeness between 
them which must be represented 
by a higher Idea and so on ad 
vnjlnitum 68 

Are the Ideas conceptions of the 
mind, and nothing more? Im- 
possible 64 

The Ideas are types or exemplaria, 
and objects partake of them by 
being likened to them Impos- 
sible 66 

If Ideas exist, they cannot be 
knowable by us. We can know 
only what is relative to our- 
selves. Individuals are relative 
to individuals : Ideas relative to 
Ideas ib. 

Forms can be known only through 
the Form of Cognition, which 
we do not possess 66 

Form of Cognition, superior to our 
Cognition, belongs to the Gods. 
We cannot know them, nor can 
they know us ib. 

Sum total of objections against' the 
Ideas is grave. But if we do 
not admit that Ideas exist, and 
that they are knowable, there 
can be no dialectic discussion . . 67 

Dilemma put by Parmenides 
Acuteness of his objections . . 68 

The doctrine which Parmenides 
attacks is the genuine Platonic 
theory of Ideas. His objections 
are never answered in any part 
of the Platonic dialogues . . . . ib. 

Views of Stallbaum and Socher. 
The latter maintains that Plato 
>yould never make such objec- 
tions against his own theory, and 
denies the authenticity of the 
Parmenides 69 

Philosophers are usually advo- 
cates, each of a positive system 
of his own 70 

Different spirit of Plato in his 
Dialogues of Search ib. 

The Parmenides is the extreme 
manifestation of the negative 
element. That Plato should em- 
ploy one dialogue in setting forth 
the negative case against the 
Theory of Ideas is not un- 
natural 71 

Force of the negative case in the 
Parmenides. Difficulties about 
participation of sensible objects 
in the world of Ideas ib. 

Difficulties about the Cognizability 
of Ideas. If Ideas are absolute, 
they cannot be cognizable: if 
they are cognizable, they must 


be relative. Doctrine of Homo 
Mensura 72 

Answer of Sokrates That Ideas 
are mere conceptions of the mind. 
Objection of Parmenides correct, 
though undeveloped 73 

Meaning of Abstract and General 
Terms, debated from ancient 
times to the present day- Dif- 
ferent views of Plato and Ari- 
stotle upon it 76 

Plato never expected to make his 
Ideas fit on to the facts of sense : 
Aristotle tried to do it and 
partly succeeded 78 

Continuation of the Dialogue 
Parmenides admonishes Sokrates 
that he has been premature in 
delivering a doctrine, without 
sufficient preliminary exercise .. 79 

What sort of exercise? Parmenides 
describes : To assume provision- 
ally both the affirmative and the 
negative of many hypotheses 
about the most general terms,and 
to trace the consequences of each ib. 

Impossible to do this before a nu- 
merous audience Parmenides 
is entreated to give a specimen 
After much solicitation he 
agrees 80 

Parmenidea elects his own theory 
of the Unum, as the topic for 
exhibition Aristoteles becomes 
respondent ib. 

Exhibition of Parmenides Nine 
distinct deductions or Demon- 
strations, first from Uiium list 
next from Unum non Est ... 81 

The Demonstrations in antagonis 
ing pairs, or Antinomies. Per 
plexing entanglement of conclu 
sions given without any expla 
nation ib. 

Different judgments of Platonic 
critics respecting the Antinomies 
and the dialogue generally.. .. 82 

No dogmatical solution or purpose 
is wrapped up in the dialogue. 
The purpose is negative, to 
make a theorist keenly feel all 
the difficulties of theorising . . 85 

This negative purpose is expressly 
announced by Plato himself. All 
dogmatical purpose, extending 
farther, is purely hypothetical, 
and even inconsistent with what 
is declared 87 

The Demonstrations or Antinomies 
considered. They include much 
unwarranted assumption and 
subtlety. Collection of unex- 
plained perplexities or airopiat, . . 88 



Even if Plato himself saw through 
these subtleties, he might still 
choose to impose and to heap 
up difficulties in the way of a 
forward affirmative aspirant . . 89 

The exercises exhibited by Par- 
menides are exhibited only as 
illustrative specimens of a me- 
thod enjoined to be applied to 
many other Antinomies . . . . 91 

These Platonic Antinomies are 
more formidable than any of the 
sophisms or subtleties broached 
by the Megaric philosophers . . ib. 

In order to understand fully the 
Platonic Antinomies, we ought 
to have before us the problems 
of the Megarics and others. 
Uselessness of searching for a 
positive result 93 

Assumptions of Parmenides in his 
Demonstrations convey the mi- 
nimum of determinate meaning. 
Views of Aristotle upon these 
indeterminate predicates, Ens, 
Unum, <fec 94 

In the Platonic Demonstrations 
the same proposition in words 
is made to bear very different 
meanings 95 

First demonstration ends in an 
assemblage of negative conclu- 
sions. Reductio ad Absurdum of 
the assumption Unum non 
Multa 96 

Second Demonstration 97 

It ends in demonstrating Both, 
of that which the first Demon- 
stration had demonstrated Nei- 
ther 98 

Startling paradox Open offence 
against logical canon No logical 
canon had then been laid down 99 


Demonstration third Attempt to 
reconcile the contradiction of 
Demonstrations I. and II 100 

Plato's imagination of the Sudden 
or Instantaneous Breaches or 
momentary stoppages in the 
course of time ib. 

Review of the successive pairs of 
Demonstrations or Antinomies 
in each, the first proves the Nei- 
ther, the second proves the Uoth 101 

The third Demonstration is media- 
torial but not satisfactory The 
hypothesis of the Sudden or In- 
stantaneous found no favour . . 102 

Review of the two last Antinomies 
Demonstrations VI. and VII. .. 103 

Demonstration VII. is founded 
upon the genuine doctrine of 
Parmenides 104 

Demonstrations VI. and VII. con- 
sidered Unwarrantable steps 
in the reasoning The funda- 
mental premiss differently inter- 
preted, though the same in 
words 105 

Demonstrations VIII. and IX. 
Analysis of Demonstration VIII. IOC 

Demonstration VIII. is very subtle 
and Zenonian 107 

Demonstration IX. Neither fol- 
lowing Both ib. 

Concluding words of the Parme- 
nides Declaration that he has 
demonstrated the Both and the 
Neither of many different pro- 
positions 108 

Comparison of the conclusion of 
the Parmenides to an enigma of 
the Republic. Difference. The 
constructor of the enigma 
adapted its conditions to a tore- 
known solution. Plato did not ib. 


Subjects and personages in the 
Theeetetus 110 

Question raised by Sokrates 
What is knowledge or Cogni- 
tion? First answer of These- 
t@tus, enumerating many diffe- 
rent cognitions. Corrected by 
Sokrates Ill 

Preliminary conversation before 
the second answer is given. So- 
krates describes his own peculiar 
efficacy mental obstetric He 
cannot teach, but he can evolve 
knowledge out of pregnant minds 112 

Ethical basis of the cross-examina- 
tion of Sokrates- He is forbid- 
den to pass by falsehood with- 
out challenge 113 

Answer of Theaptfitus Cognition 
is sensible perception : Sokrates 
says that this is the same doc- 
trine as the Homo Mensura laid 
down by Protagoras, and that 
both are in close affinity with 
the doctrines of Homer, Hera- 
kleitus, Empedoklgs, Ac., all ex- 
cept Parmenides ib. 

Plato here blends together three 



distinct theories for the purpose 
of confuting them ; yet he also 
professes to urge what can be 
said in favour of them. Diffi- 
culty of following his exposition 114 

The doctr'ne of Protagoras is com- 
pletely distinct from the other 
doctrines. The identification of 
them as one and the same is only 
constructive the interpretation 
of Plato himself 115 

Explanation of the doctrine of Pro- 
tagoras Homo Mensura . . . . 116 

Perpetual implication of Subject 
with Object Relate and Cor- 
relate 118 

Such relativity is no less true in 
regard to the ratiocinative com- 
binations of each individual, 
than in regard to his percipient 
capacities ib. 

Evidence from Plato proving im- 
plication of Subject and Object, 
in regard to the intelligible 
world 121 

The Protagorean measure is even 
more easily shown in reference 
to the intelligible world than in 
reference to sense 122 

Object always relative to Subject j 
Either without the other, impos- 
sible. Plato admits this in 
Sophistes 125 

Plato's representation of the Pro- 
tagorean doctrine in intimate 
cohj unction with the Heraklei- 
tean 126 

Relativity of sensible facts, as de- 
scribed by him ib. 

Relations are nothing in the object 
purely and simply without a 
comparing subject 127 

Relativity twofold to the compar- 
ing Subject to another object, 
besides the one directly de- 
scribed ib. 

Statement of the doctrine of Hera- 
kleitus yet so as to implicate it 
with that of Protagoras .. ..128 

Agent and Patient No absolute 
Ens 129 

Arguments derived from dreams, 
fevers, &c., may be answered . . 130 

Exposition of the Protagorean doc- 
trine, as given here by Sokrates 
is to a great degree just. You 
cannot explain the facts of con- 
sciousness by independent Sub- 
ject and Object 131 

Plato's attempt to get behind the 
phenomena. Reference to a 
double potentiality Subjective 
and Objective 133 


Arguments advanced by the Pla- 
tonic Sokrates against the Pro- 
tagorean doctrine. He says that 
it puts the wise and foolish on a 
par that it contradicts the com- 
mon consciousness. Not every 
one, but the wise man only, is a 
measure 135 

In matters of present sentiment 
every man can judge for himself. 
Where future consequences are 
involved special knowledge is 
required 136 

Plato, when he impugns the doc- 
trine of Protagoras, states that 
doctrine without the qualifica- 
tion properly belonging to it. All 
belief relative to the condition of 
the believing mind 137 

All exposition and discussion is an 
assemblage of individual judg- 
ments and affirmations. This 
fact is disguised by elliptical 
forms of language 130 

Argument That the Protagorean 
doctrine equalises all men and 
animals. How far true. Not 
true in the sense requisite to 
sustain Plato's objection . . . . 141 

Belief on authority is true to the 
believer himself The efficacy of 
authority resides in the believer's 
own mind 14*2 

Protagorean formula is false, to 
those who dissent from it . . . . 143 

Plato's argument that the wise 
man alone is a measure Reply 
to it ib. 

Plato's argument as to the distinc- 
tion between present sensation 
and anticipation of the future . . 145 

The formula of Relativity does not 
imply that every man believes 
himself to be infallible . . . . ib. 

Plato's argument is untenable 
That if the Protagorean formula 
be admitted, dialectic discussion 
would be annulled The reverse 
is true Dialectic recognises the 
autonomy of the individual mind 146 

Contrast with the Treatise De 
Legibus Plato assumes infalli- 
ble authority sets aside dia- 
lectic 148 

Plato in denying the Protagorean 
formula, constitutes himself the 
measure for all. Counter propo- 
sition to the formula ib. 

Import of the Protagorean formula 
is best seen when we state ex- 
plicitly the counter-proposition ISO- 
Unpopularity of the Protagorean 
formula Most believers insist 



upon making themselves a mea- 
sure for others, as well as for 
themselves. Appeal to Abstrac- 
tions 150 

Aristotle failed in his attempts to 
refute the Protagorean formula 
Every reader of Aristotle will 
claim the right of examining for 
himself Aristotle's canons of 
truth 152 

Plato's examination of the other 
doctrine That knowledge is Sen- 
sible Perception. He adverts to 
sensible facts which are different 
with different Percipients . . . . 153 

Such is not the case with all the 
facts of sense. The conditions of 
unanimity are best found among 
select facts of sense weighing, 
measuring, &c 154 

Arguments of Sokrates in examin- 
ing this question. Divergence 
between one man and another 
arises, not merely from different 
sensual impressibility, but from 
mental and associative differ- 
ence 155 

Argument That sensible Percep- 
tion does not include memory- 
Probability that those who held 
the doctrine meant to include 
memory 157 

Argument from the analogy of see- 
ing and not seeing at the same 
time ib. 

Sokrates maintains that we do not 
see with our eyes, but that the 
mind sees throu,gk the eyes : that 
the mind often conceives and 
judges by itself without the aid 
of any bodily organ 159 

Indication of several judgments 
which the mind makes by itself 
It perceives Existence, Differ- 
ence, &c 160 

Sokrates maintains that knowledge 
is to be found, not in the Sen- 
sible Perceptions themselves, but 
in the comparisons and computa- 
tions of the mind respecting 
them 161 

Examination of this view Dis- 
tinction from the views of 
modern philosophers 162 

Different views given by Plato in 

other dialogues 163 

Plato's discussion of this question 
here exhibits a remarkable ad- 
vance in analytical psychology. 
The mind rises from Sensation, 
first to Opinion, then to Cogni- 
tion 164 

Plato did not recognise Veriflca- 


tion from experience, or from 
facts of sense, as either neces- 
sary or possible 168 

Second definition g^iven by Theee- 
t6tus That Cognition consists in 
right or true opinion ib. 

Objection by Sokrates This defini- 
tion assumes that there are false 
opinions. But how can false 
opinions be possible ? How can 
we conceive Non-Ens ; or con- 
found together two distinct reali- 
ties ? ib. 

Waxen memorial tablet in the 
mind, on which past impressions 
are engraved. False opinion 
consists in wrongly identifying 
present sensations with past im- 
pressions 169 

Sokrates refutes this assumption. 
Dilemma. Either false opinion 
is impossible, or else a man may 
know what he does not know . . 170 

He draws distinction between pos- 
sessing knowledge, and having 
it actually in hand. Simile of 
the pigeon-cage with caught 
pigeons turned into it and flying 
about ib. 

Sokrates refutes this. Suggestion 
of Thesetetus That there may 
be non-cognitions in the mind as 
well as cognitions, and that 
false opinion may consist in 
confounding one with the 
other. Sokrates rejects this . . 171 

He brings another argument to 
prove that Cognition is not the 
same as true opinion. Rhetors 
persuade or communicate true 
opinion ; but they do not teach 
or communicate knowledge . . 172 

New answer of Thensttitus Cog- 
nition is true opinion, coupled 
with rational explanation . . . 173 

Criticism on the answer by So- 
krates. Analogy of letters and 
words, primordial elements and 
compounds. Elements cannot be 
explained : compounds alone can 
be explained ib. 

Sokrates refutes this criticism. If 
the elements are unknowable, 
the compound must be unknow- 
ablealso 174 

Rational explanation may have one 
of three different meanings. 1. 
Description in appropriate lan- 
guage. 2. Enumeration of all 
the component elements in the 
compound. In neither of these 
meanings will the definition of 
Cognition hold ib. 



Third meaning. To assign some 
mark, whereby the thing to be 
explained differs from everything 
else. The definition will not 
hold. For rational explanation, 
in this sense, is already included 
in true opinion 175 

Conclusion of the dialogue Sum- 
ming up by Sokrates Value of 
the result, although purely nega- 
tive 176 

Remarks on the dialogue. View 
of Plato. False persuasion of 
knowledge removed. Import- 
ance of such removal ib. 

Formation of the testing or veri- 
fying power in men y s minds. 
Value of the Thesetelus, as it 


exhibits Sokrates demolishing 
his own suggestions 177 

Comparison of the Philosopher with 
the Rhetor. The Rhetor is en- 
slaved to the opinions of auditors 178 

The Philosopher is master of his 
own debates 179 

Purpose of dialogue to qualify for 
a life of philosophical Search . . ib 

Difficulties of the Theretetus are 
not solved in any other Dialogue 180 

Plato considered that the search 
for Truth was the noblest occu- 
pation of life 182 

Contrast between the philosopher 
and the practical statesman 
between Knowledge and Opinion 183 



Persons and circumstances of the 
two dialogues 185 

Relation of the two dialogues to 
the Thesetgtus 187 

Plato declares that his first pur- 
pose is to administer a lesson in 
logical method : the special ques- 
tion chosen, being subordinate 
to that purpose 188 

Method of logical Definition and 
Division ib. 

Sokrates tries the application of 
this method, first, upon a vulgar 
subject. To find the logical place 
and deduction of the Angler. 
Superior classes above him. Bi- 
secting division 189 

Such a lesson in logical classifica- 
tion was at that time both novel 
and instructive. No logical ma- 
nuals then existed 190 

Plato describes the Sophist as ana- 
logous to an angler. He traces 
the Sophist by descending sub- 
division from the acquisitive 
genus of art 191 

The Sophist traced down from the 
same, by a second and different 
descending subdivision .. ..192 

Also, by a third 193 

The Sophist is traced down, from 
the genus of separating or dis- 
criminating art 194 

In a logical classification, low and 
vulgar items deserve as much 
attention as grand ones. Con- 
flict between emotional and sci- 
entific classification 195 

The purifier a species under the 
genus discriminator separates 
good from evil. Evil is of two 
sorts ; the worst sort is, Igno- 
rance, mistaking itself for know- 
ledge 197 

Exhortation is useless against this 
worst mode of evil. Cross-ex- 
amination, the shock of the 
Elenchus, must be brought to 
bear upon it. This is the sove- 
reign purifier ib. 

The application of this Elenchus is 
the work of the Sophist, looked 
at on its best side. But looked 
at as he really is, he is a juggler 
who teaches pupils to dispute 
about every thing who palms 
off falsehood for truth .... 198 

Doubt started by the Eleate. How 
can it be possible either to think 
or to speak falsely ? 199 

He pursues the investigation of 
this problem by a series of ques- 
tions ib. 

The Sophist will reject our defi- 
nition and escape, by affirming 
that to speak falsely is impos- 
sible. He will require us to 
make out a rational theory, ex- 
plaining Non-Ens 200 

The Eleate turns from Non-Ens to 
Ens. Theories of various philo- 
sophers about Ens ib. 

Difficulties about Ens are as great 
as those about Non-Ens . . . . 201 

Whether Ens is Many or One? If 
Many, how Many? Difficulties 




about One and the Whole. The- 
orists about Ens cannot solve 
them 201 

Theories of those who do not re- 
cognise a definite number of 
Entia or elements. Two classes 
thereof 202 

1. The Materialist Philosophers. 
2. The Friends of Forms or 
Idealists, who recognise such 
Forms as the only real Entia . . ib. 

Argument against the Materialists 
Justice must be something, 
since it may be either present 
or absent, making sensible dif- 
ference But Justice is not a 
body 203 

At least many of them will con- 
cede this point, though not all. 
Ens is common to the corporeal 
and the incorporeal. Ens is 
equivalent to potentiality . . . . 204 

Argument against the Idealists 
who distinguish Ens from the 
generated, and say that we hold 
communion with the former 
through our minds, with the 
latter through our bodies and 
senses ib. 

Holding communion What ? Im- 
plies Relativity. Ens is known 
by the mind. It therefore suf- 
fersor undergoes change. Ens 
includes both the unchangeable 
and the changeable 205 

Motion and rest are both of them 
Entia or realities. Both agree 
in Ens. Ens is a tertium quid 
distinct from both. But how 
can anything be distinct from 
both? 206 

Here the Eleate breaks off with- 
out solution. He declares his 
purpose to show, That Ens is as 
full of puzzle as Non-Ens . . . . ib. 

Argument against those who ad- 
mit no predication to be legi- 
timate, except identical. How 
far Forms admit of intercom- 
munion with each other . . . . ib. 

No intercommunion between any 
distinct forms. Refuted. Com- 
mon speech is inconsistent with 
this hypothesis 207 

Reciprocal intercommunion of all 
Forms inadmissible ib. 

Some Forms admit of intercom- 
munion, others not. This is the 
only admissible doctrine. Ana- 
logy of letters and syllables . . ib. 

Art and skill are required to dis- 
tinguish what Forms admit of in- 
tercommunion, and what Forms 


do not. This is the special in- 
telligence of the Philosopher, 
who lives in the bright region 
of Ens : the Sophist lives in the 
darkness of Non-Ens 208 

He comes to enquire what Non-Ens 
is. He takes for examination 
five principal Forms Motion- 
Rest Ens Same Different .. ib, 

Form of Diversum pervades all the 
others 200 

Motion is different from Diversum, 
or is not'Diversum. Motion is dif- 
ferent from Ens in other words, 
it is Non-Ens. Each of these 
Forms is both Ens and Non-Ens 210 

By Non-Ens, we do not mean any- 
thing contrary to Ens we mean 
only something different from 
Ens. Non-Ens is a real Form, 
as well as Ens ib. 

The Eleate claims to have refuted 
Parmenides, and to have shown 
both that Non-Ens is a real 
Form, and also what it is . . . . 211 

The theory now stated is the only 
one, yet given, which justifies 
predication as a legitimate pro- 
cess, with a predicate different 
from the subject 212 

Enquiry, whether the Form of 
Non-Ens can come into inter- 
communion with the Forms of 
Proposition, Opinion, Judgment 21S 

Analysis of a Proposition. Every 
Proposition must have a noun 
and a verb it must be proposi- 
tion of Something. False propo- 
sitions, involve the Form of Non- 
Ens, in relation to the particular 
subject ib. 

Opinion. Judgment, Fancy, &c., 
are akin to Proposition, and 
may be also false, by coming into 
partnership with the Form Non- 
Ens 2H 

It thus appears that Falsehood, 
imitating Truth, is theoretically 
possible, and that there may be 
a profession, like that of the 
Sophist, engaged in producing it ib. 

Logical distribution of Imitators 
those who imitate what they 
know, or what they do not 
know of these last, some sin- 
cerely believe themselves to 
know, others are conscious that 
they do not know, and de- 
signedly impose upon others . . 215 

Last class divided Those who im- 
pose on numerous auditors by 
long discourse, the Rhetor 
Those who impose on select 



auditors, by short question and 
answer, making the respondent 
contradict himself the So- 
phist 215 

Dialogue closed. Remarks upon 
it Characteristics ascribed to a 
Sophist 216 

These characteristics may have 
belonged to other persona, but 
they oelonged in an especial 
manner to Sokrates himself . . ib. 

The conditions enumerated in the 
dialogue (except the taking of a 
fee) fit Sokrates better than any 
other known person 217 

The art which Plato calls " the 
thoroughbred and noble Sophis- 
tical Art" belongs to Sokrates 
and to no one else. The Elen- 
chus was peculiar to him. Prota- 
goras and Prodikus were not 
Sophists in this sense 218 

Universal knowledge was pro- 
fessed at that time by all Philo- 
sophersPlato, Aristotle, &c. . . 219 

Inconsistency of Plato's argument 
in the Sophiste's. He says that 
the Sophist is a disputatious 
man who challenges every one 
for speaking falsehood. He says 
also that the Sophist is one who 
maintains false propositions to 
be impossible 220 

Beasonmg of Plato about Non-Ens 
No predications except iden- 
tical 221 

Misconception of the function of 
the copula in predication .. .. ?.&. 

No formal Grammar or Logic 
existed at that time. No ana- 
lysis or classification of propo- 
sitions before the works of 
Aristotle 222 

Plato's declared purpose in the 
Sophisms To confute the vari- 
ous schools of thinkers An- 
tisthenes, Parmenides, the Ma- 
terialists, &c 223 

Plato's refutation throws light 
upon the doctrine of Antisthehes ib. 

Plato's argument against the 
Materialists 224 

Reply open to the Materialists . . ib. 

Plato's argument against the Ideal- 
ists or Friends of Forms. Their 
point of view against him . . . . 225 

Plato argues That to know, and 
be known, is action and passion, 
a mode of relativity 226 

Plato's reasoning compared with 
the points of view of both .. .. ib. 

The argument of Plato goes to an 
entire denial of the Absolute, 


and a full establishment of the 
Relative 227 

Coincidence of his argument with 
the doctrine of Protagoras in 
the Theuetetus ib. 

The Idealists maintained that 
Ideas or Forms were entirely 
unchangeable and eternal. Plato 
here denies this, and maintains 
that ideas were partly change- 
able, partly unchangeable . . . . 228 

Plato's reasoning against the Ma- 
terialists i b. 

Difference between Concrete and 
Abstract, not then made con- 
spicuous. Large meaning here 
given by Plato to Ens compre- 
hending not only objects of Per- 
ception, but objects of Concep- 
tion besides 229 

Narrower meaning given by Ma- 
terialists to Ens they included 
only Objects of Perception. 
Their reasoning as opposed to 
Plato ib. 

Different definitions of Ens by 
Plato the Materialists, the Ide- 
alists 231 

Plato's views about Non-Ens exa- 
mined ib. 

His review of the select Five 
Forms 233 

Plato's doctrine That Non-Ens is 
nothing more than different from 
Ens ib. 

Communion of Non-Ens with pro- 
position possible and expli- 
cable 235 

Imperfect analysis of a proposition 
Plato does not recognise the 
predicate ib. 

Plato's explanation of Non-Ens is 
not satisfactory Objections to it 236 

Plato's view of the negative is 
erroneous. Logical maxim of 
contradiction 239 

Examination of the illustrative 
propositions chosen by Plato 
How do we know that one is 
true, the other false ? ib. 

Necessity of accepting the evi- 
dence of sense 240 

Errors of Aritisthenes depended 
partly on the imperfect formal 
logic of that day 241 

Doctrine of the Sophiste's contra- 
dicts that of other Platonic dia- 
logues 242 

The persons whom Plato here 
attacks as Friends of Forms are 
those who held the same doctrine 
as Plato himself espouses in 
Phsedon, Republic, &c., .. ..246 



The Sophiste's recedes from the 
Platonic point of view, and ap- | 
proaches the Aristotelian . . . . 247 

Aristotle assumes without proof, 
that there are some propositions 
true, others false 249 

Plato in the Sophfctta has under- 
taken an impossible task He 
could not have proved, against 
his supposed adversary, that 
there are false propositions . . ib. 

What must be assumed in all dia- 
lectic discussion ? 251 

Discussion and theorising pre- 
suppose belief and disbelief, ex- 
pressed in set forms of words. 
They imply predication, which 
Antisthenes discarded 252 

Precepts and examples of logical 


partition, illustrated m the So- 
phistds 253 

Recommendation of logical bipar- 
tition 254 

Precepts illustrated by the Philg- 
bus ib. 

Importance of founding logical 
Pcartition on resemblances per- 
ceived by sense 255 

Province of sensible perception- 
is not so much narrowed by Plato 
here as it is in the Thesetfitus .. 256 

Comparison of the Sophist6s with 
thePhaulrus 257 

Comparison of the Politikus with 
the Parmenide's 258 

Variety of method in dialectic re- 
search Diversitj of Plato . . 250 


The Politikus by itself, apart from 
the Sophist^ 260 

Views of Plato on mensuration. 
Objects measured against each 
other. Objects compared with a 
common standard. In each Art, 
the purpose to be attained is the 
standard ib. 

Purpose in the Sophistes and Poli- 
tikus is To attain dialectic apti- 
tude. This is the standard of 
comparison whereby to judge 
whether the means employed are 
suitable 261 

Plato's defence of the Politikus 
against critics. Necessity that 
the critic shall declare explicitly 
what his standard of comparison 
is 262 

Comparison of Politikus with Pro- 
tagoras, Phaedon, Phil6bus, &c. ib. 

Definition of the statesman, or Go- 
vernor. Scientific competence. 
Sokratic point of departure. Pro- 
cedure of Plato in subdividing.. 263 

King during the Saturnian period, 
was of a breed superior to the 
people not so any longer . . . . 264 

Distinction of causes Principal 
and Causes Auxiliary. The King 
is the only Principal Cause, but 
his auxiliaries pretend to be 
principal also 266 

Plato docs not admit the received 
classification of government. It 
does not touch the point upon 
which all true distinction ought 

to be founded Scientific or Un- 
scientific 267 

Unscientific governments are coun- 
terfeits. Government by any 
numerous body must be counter- 
feit. Government by the one 
scientific man is the true govern- 
ment 268 

Fixed laws, limiting the scientific 
Governor, are mischievous, as 
they would be for the physician 
and the steersman. Absurdity 
of determining medical practice 
by laws, and presuming every 
one to know it 269 

Government by fixed laws is better 
than lawless government by un- 
scientific men, but worse than 
lawless government by scientific 
men. It is a second-best .. . . ib. 

Comparison of unscientific govern- 
ments. The one despot is the 
worse. Democracy is the least 
bad, because it is least of a 
government 270 

The true governor distinguished 
from the General, the Rhetor, 
&c. They are all properly his 
subordinates and auxiliaries . . 271 

What the scientific Governor will 
do. He will aim at the forma- 
tion of virtuous citizens. He 
will weave together the ener- 
getic virtues with the gentle 
virtues. Natural dissidence be- 
tween them 272 

If a man sins by excess of the en- 



ergetic element, he is to be 
killed or banished: if of the 
gentle, he is to be made a slave. 
The Governor must keep up in 
the minds of the citizens an 
unanimous standard of ethical 
orthodoxy 272 

Remarks Sokratic Ideal Title to 
govern mankind derived exclu- 
sively from scientific superiority 
in an individual person . . . . 273 

Different ways in which this ideal 
is worked out by Plato and Xe- 
nophon. The man of specula- 
tion and the man of action . . ib. 

The theory in the Politikus is the 
contradiction to that theory 
which is assigned to Protagoras 
in the Protagoras 274 

Points of the Protagorean theory 
rests upon common sentiment 275 

Counter-Theory in the Politikus. 
The exigencies of the Bleate in 
the Politikus go much farther 
than those of Protagoras . . . . 276 

The Eleate complains that under 
the Protagorean theory no ad- 
verse criticism is allowed. The 
dissenter is either condemned 
to silence or punished ib. 


Intolerance at Athens, not so great 
as elsewhere. Plato complains 
of the assumption of infallibility 
in existing societies, but exacts 
it severely in that which he 
himself constructs 277 

Theory of the Politikus distin- 
guished three gradations of po- 
lity. Gigantic individual force 
the worst 278 

Comparison of the Politikus with 
the Republic. Points of analogy 
and difference 279 

Comparison of the Politikus with 
the Kratylus. Dictatorial, con- 
structive, science or art, com- 
mon to both : applied in the 
former to social administration 
in the latter to the formation 
and modification of names . . . . 281 

Courage and Temperance are as- 
sumed in the Politikus. No 
notice taken of the doubts and 
difficulties raised in Laches and 
Charmid&s 282 

Purpose of the difficulties in 
Plato's Dialogues of Search To 
stimulate the intellect of the 
hearer. His exposition does not 
give solutions 284 


Persons and subjects of the dia- 
logue Kratylus Sokrates has no 
formed opinion, but is only a 
Searcher with the others .. ..285 

Argument of Sokrates against Her- 
mogenes all proceedings of 
nature are conducted according 
to fixed laws speaking and 
naming among the rest .. ..286 

The name is a didactic instru- 
ment ; fabricated by the law- 
giver upon the type of the 
Name-Form, and employed as 
well as appreciated, by the philo- 
sopher 287 

Names have an intrinsic aptitude 
for signifying one thing and not 
another 289 

Forms of Names, as well as Forms 
of things nameable essence of 
the Nomen, to signify the Es- 
sence of its Nominatum . . . . ib. 

Exclusive competence of a privi- 
leged lawgiver, to discern these 
essences, and to apportion names 
rightly 290 

Counter-Theory, which Sokrates 
here sets forth and impugns 
the Protagorean doctrine Homo 
Mensura 291 

Objection by Sokrates That Pro- 
tagoras puts all men on a level 
as to wisdom and folly, know- 
ledge and ignorance 292 

Objection unfounded What the 
Protagorean theory really affirms 
Belief always relative to the 
believer's mind ib. 

Each man believes others to be 
wiser on various points than 
himself Belief on authority 
not inconsistent with the affirma- 
tion of Protagoras 293 

Analogy of physical processes (cut- 
ting and burning) appealed to 
by Sokrates does not sustain his 
inference against Protagoras .. 294 

Reply of Protagoras to the Platonic 
objections 295 

Sentiments of Belief and Disbelief, 
common to all men Grounds of 
belief and disbelief, different 


with different men and different 

ages 295 

Protagoras did not affirm, that 
Belief depended upon the will 
or inclination of each individual 
but that it was relative to the 
circumstances of each individual 
mind 297 

Facts of sense some are the same 
to all sentient subjects, others 
are different to different sub- 
jects. Grounds of unanimity . . 298 

Sokrates exemplifies his theory of 
the Absolute Name or the Name- 
Form. He attempts to show the 
inherent rectitude of many ex- 
isting names. His etymological 
transitions 209 

These transitions appear violent to 
a modern reader. They did not 
appear so to readers of Plato 
until this century. Modern dis- 
covery, that they are intended as 
caricatures to deride the Sophists 302 

Dissent from this theory No 
proof that the Sophists ever pro- 
posed etymologies 304 

Plato did not intend to propose 
mock -etymologies, or to deride 
any one. Protagoras could not 
be ridiculed here. Neither Her- 
mogenes nor Kratylus under- 
stand the etymologies as carica- 
ture 306 

Plato intended his theory as seri- 
ous, but his exemplifications as 
adinissable guesses. He does not 
cite particular cases as proofs of 
a theory, but only as illustrating 
what he means 308 

Sokrates announces himself as 
Searcher. Other etymologists 
of ancient times admitted ety- 
mologies as rash as those of 
Plato 310 

Continuance of the dialogue So- 
krates endeavours to explain 
how it is that the Names origin 
ally right have become so dis- 
guised and spoiled 312 

Letters, as well as things, must be 
distinguished with their essen- 
tial properties, each must be 
adapted to each 313 

Essential significant aptitude con- 
sists in resemblance ib. 

Sokrates assumes that the Name- 
giving Lawgiver was a believer 
in the Herakleitean theory . . . . 314 

But the Name-Giver may be mis- 
taken or incompetent the recti- 
tude of the name depends upon 
his knowledge 315 


Changes and transpositions intro- 
duced in the name hard to 
follow 315 

Sokrates qualifies and attenuates 
his original thesis 316 

Conversation of Sokrates with Kra- 
tylus ; who upholds that original 
thesis without any qualification ib. 

Sokrates goes still farther towards 
retracting it 317 

There are names better and worse 
more like, or less like to the 
things named: Natural Names 
are the best, but they cannot 
always be had. Names may be 
significant by habit, though in 
an inferior way 318 

All names are not consistent with 
the theory of Herakleitus : some 
are opposed to it 319 

It is not true to say, That Things 
can only be known through their 
names 320 

Unchangeable Platonic Forms 
opposed to the Herakleitean flux, 
which is true only respecting 
sensible particulars ib. 

Herakleitean theory must not be 
assumed as certain. We must 
not put implicit faith in names . . 321 

Remarks upon the dialogue. Dis- 
sent from the opinion of Stall- 
baum and others, that it is in- 
tended to deride Protagoras and 
other Sophists ib. 

Theory laid down by Sokrates d 
priori, in the first part Great 
difficulty, and ingenuity neces- 
sary, to bring it into harmony 
with facts 322 

Opposite tendencies of Sokrates in 
the last half of the dialogue he 
disconnects his theory of Nam- 
ing from the Herakleitean doc- 
trine 324 

Ideal of the best system of naming 
the Name-Giver ought to be 
familiar with the Platonic Ideas 
or Essences, and apportion his 
names according to resemblances 
among them 325 

Comparison of Plato's views about 
naming with those upon social 
institutions. Artistic, system- 
atic construction contrasted 
with unpremeditated unsyste- 
matic growth 327 

Politikus compared with Kratylus 328 

Ideal of Plato Postulate of the 
One Wise Man Badness of all 
reality 329 

fomparison of Kratvlus. These - 
tetus, and Sophistes, in treat- 



ment of the question respecting 
Non-Ens, ana the possibility of 

false propositions 331 

Discrepancies and inconsistencies 
of Plato, in his manner of hand- 


ring the same subject 332 

No common didactic purpose per- 
vading the Dialogues each is a 
distinct composition, working out 
its own peculiar argument . . . . ib. 



Character, Personages, and Subject 
of the Phil6bus 334 

Protest against the Sokratic Klen- 
chus, and the purely negative 
procedure 335 

Enquiry What mental condition 
will ensure to all men a happy 
life ? Good and Happiness cor- 
relative and co-extensive. Phile- 
bus declares for Pleasure, So- 
krates for Intelligence ib, 

Good object of universal choice 
and attachment by men, animals, 
and plants all-sufficient satis- 
fies all desires ib. 

Pleasures are unlike to each other, 
and even opposite cognitions are 
solikewise 336 

Whether Pleasure, or Wisdom, cor- 
responds to this description? 
Appeal to individual choice . . 337 

First Question submitted to Pro- 
tarchus Intense Pleasure, with- 
out any intelligence He de- 
clines to accept it 338 

Second Question Whether he will 
accept a life of Intelligence purely 
without any pleasure or pain ? 
Answer No ib, 

It is agreed on both sides, That 
the Good must be a Tertium 
Quid. But Sokrates undertakes 
to show, That Intelligence is 
more cognate with it than Plea- 
sure 339 

Difficulties about Unum et Multa. 
How can the One be Many? 
How can the Many be One? 
The difficulties are greatest 
about Generic Unity how it is 
distributed among species and 
individuals ib. 

Active disputes upon this question 
at the time 340 

Order of Nature Coalescence of 
the Finite with the Infinite. The 
One The Finite Many The 
Infinite Many ib. 

Mistake commonly made To look 
only for the One, and the Infi- 
nite Many, without looking for 
the intermediate subdivisions .. 341 

Illustration from Speech and Music 342 

Plato's explanation does not touch 
the difficulties which he had 
himself recognised as existing . . 343 

It is nevertheless instructive, in 
regard to logical division and 
classification 844 

At that time little thought had 
been bestowed upon classification 
as a logical process ib. 

Classification unconscious and 
conscious 845 

Plato's doctrine about classification 
is not necessarily connected with 
his Theory of Ideas ib. 

Quadruple distribution of Exist- 
ences. 1. The Infinite. 2. The 
Finient. 3. Product of the two 
former. 4. Combining Cause or 
Agency 346 

Pleasure and Pain belong to the 
first of these four Classes Cug- 
nition or Intelligence belongs to 
the fourth 347 

In the combination, essential to 
Good, of Intelligence with Plea- 
sure, Intelligence is the more 
important of the two constitu- 
ents ib 

Intelligence is the regulating prin- 
ciple-Pleasure is the Indeter- 
minate, requiring to be regu- 
lated 348 

Pleasure and Pain must be ex- 
plained together Pain arises 
from the disturbance of the 
fundamental harmony of the 
system Pleasure from the res- 
toration of it ib. 

Pleasure presupposes Pain .. ..349 

Derivative pleasures of memory 
and expectation belonging to 
mind alone. Here you may find 
pleasure without pain ib. 

A life of Intelligence alone, with- 
out pain and without pleasure, 
is conceivable. Some may pre- 
fer it : at any rate it is second- 
best ib. 

Desire belongs to the mind, pre- 
supposes both a bodily want, and 
the memory of satisfaction pre- 



viously had for it. The mind 
and body are here opposed. No 
true or pure pleasure therein . . 350 
Can pleasures be true or false? 
Sokrates maintains that they are 

so 351 

Beasons given by Sokrates. Plea- 
sures attached to true opinions, 
are true pleasures. The just man 
is favoured by the Gods, and 
will have true visions sent to him ib. 
Protarchus disputes this He 
thinks that there are some plea- 
sures bad, but none false So- 
krates does not admit this, but 

reserves the question 352 

No means of truly estimating plea- 
sures and pains False estimate 
habitual These are the false 

pleasures ib. 

Much of what is called pleasure 
is false. Gentle and gradual 
changes do not force themselves 
upon our notice either as plea- 
sure or pain. Absence of pain 
not the same as pleasure . . . . 353 
Opinion of the pleasure-hating phil- 
osophers That pleasure is no 
reality, but a mere juggle. There 
is no reality except pain, and 

the relief from pain 354 

Sokrates agrees with them in part, 

but not wholly ib. 

Theory of the pleasure-haters We 
must learn what pleasure is by 
looking at the intense pleasures 
These are connected with dis- 
tempered body and mind . . . . 355 
The intense pleasures belong to a 
state of sickness ; but there is 
more pleasure, on the whole, 
enjoyed in a state of health . . 356 
Sokrates acknowledges some plea- 
sures to be true. Pleasures of 
beautiful colours, odours, sounds, 
smells, &c. Pleasures of acquir- 
ing knowledge ib. 

Pure and moderate pleasures admit 

of measure and proportion . . . . 357 
Pleasure is generation, not sub- 
stance or essence : it cannot 
therefore be an End, because 
all generation is only a means 
towards substance Pleasure 
therefore cannot be the Good . . ib. 
Other reasons why pleasure is not 

the Good 

Distinction and classification of 
the varieties of Knowledge or 
Intelligence. Some are more 
true and exact than others, ac- 
cording as they admit more or 
less of measuring and computation ib. 


Arithmetic and Geometry are two- 
fold : As studied by the philo- 
sopher and teacher : As applied 
by the artisan 359 

Dialectic is the truest and purest 
of all Cognitions. Analogy be- 
tween Cognition and Pleasure : 
in each, there are gradations of 
truth and purity 360 

Difference with Gorgias, who 
claims superiority for Rhetoric. 
Sokrates admits that Rhetoric is 
superior in usefulness and cele- 
brity : but he claims superiority 
for Dialectic, as satisfying the 
lover of truth ib. 

Most men look to opinions only, or 
study the phenomenal manifesta- 
tions of the Kosraos. They neg- 
lect the unchangeable essences, 
respecting which alone pure 
truth can be obtained 361 

Application. Neither Intelligence 
rior Pleasure separately, is the 
Good, but a mixture of the two 
Intelligence being the most 
important. How are they to be 
mixed? ib. 

We must include all Cognitions 
not merely the truest, but the 
others also. Life cannot be 
carried on without both . . . . 862 

But we must include no pleasures 
except the true, pure, and neces- 
sary. The others are not com- 
patible with Cognition or Intel- 
ligenceespecially the intense 
sexual pleasures ib. 

What causes the excellence of this 
mixture? It is Measure, Pro- 
portion, Symmetry. To these 
Reason is more akin than Plea- 
sure 363 

Quintuple gradation in the Con- 
stituents of the Good. 1. Mea- 
sure. 2. Symmetry. 3. Intel- 
ligence. 4. Practical Arts and 
Right Opinions. 5. True and 
Pure Pleasures 364 

Remarks. Sokrates does not 
claim for Good the unity of 
an Idea, but a 'quasi-unity of 

analogy ' . . 365 

Discussions of the time about Bo- 
num. Extreme absolute view, 
maintained by Eukleides : ex- 
treme relative by the Xeno- 
phontic Sokrates. Plato here 
blends the two in part ; an Ec- 
lectic doctrine ib. 

Inconvenience of his method,blend- 

ing Ontology with Ethics .. ..365 
Comparison of Man to the Kos- 


mos (which has reason, but no 
emotion) is unnecessary and 
confusing 367 

Plato borrows from the Pytha- 
goreans, but enlarges their doc- 
trine. Importance of his views 
in dwelling upon systematic clas- 
sification 368 

Classification broadly enunciated, 
and strongly recommended 
yet feebly applied in this dia- 
logue 369 

What is the Good? Discussed 
both in PhilObus and in Re- 
public. Comparison 370 

Mistake of talking about Bonum 
confidently , as if it were known, 
while it is subject of constant 
dispute. Plato himself wavers 
about it ; gives different expla- 
nations, and sometimes professes 
ignorance, sometimes talks about 
it confidently ib. 

Plato lays down tests by which 
Bonum may be determined : but 
the answer in the Phile'bus does 
not satisfy those tests 371 

Inconsistency of Plato in his way 
of putting the question The 
alternative which lie tenders has 
no fair application 372 

Intelligence and Pleasure cannot 
be fairly compared Pleasure is 
an End, Intelligence a Means. 
Nothing can be compared with 
Pleasure, except some other End 373 

The Hedonists, while they laid 
down attainment of pleasure and 
diminution of pain, postulated 
Intelligence as the governing 
agency 374 

Pleasures of Intelligence may be 
compared, and are compared by 
Plato, with other pleasures, and 
declared to be of more value. 
This is arguing upon the He- 
donistic basis 375 

Marked antithesis in the Phile'bus 
between pleasure and avoidance 
of pain 377 

The Hedonists did not recognise 
this distinctionThey included 
both in their acknowledged End ib. 


Arguments of Plato against the 
intense pleasures The He- 
donists enforced the same rea- 
sonable view 378 

Different points of view worked 
out by Plato in different dia- 
logues Gorgias, Protagoras, 
Philebus True and False Plea- 
sures 379 

Opposition between the Gorgias 
and Philebus, about Gorgias and 
Rhetoric 380 

Peculiarity of the PhilSbus Plato 
applies the same principle of 
classification true and false 
to Cognitions and Pleasures . . 382 

Distinction of true and false not 
applicable to pleasures . . . . ib. 

Plato acknowledges no truth and 
reality except in the Absolute 
Pleasures which he admits to be 
true and why 385 

Plato could not have defended this 
small list of Pleasures, upon his 
own admission, against his op- 
ponents the Pleasure-haters, 
who disallowed pleasures alto- 
gether 387 

Sokrates in this dialogue differs 
little from these Pleasure- 
haters 389 

Forced conjunction of Kosmology 
and Ethics defect of the Philfi- 
bus 391 

Directive sovereignty of Measure 
how explained and applied in 
the Protagoras ib. 

How explained in Philfibus no 
statement to what items it is 
applied 393 

Classification of true and false 
how Plato applies it to Cogni- 
tions 394 

Valuable principles of this classifi- 
cation difference with other 
dialogues 395 

Close of the Philebus Graduated 
elements of Good 397 

Contrast between the Phile'bus and 
the Phsedrus, and Symposion, in 
respect to Pulchrum, and intense 
Emotions generally 398 



Persons and situation of the dia- 
logue 401 

Funeral harangue at Athens 
ChoicG of a public orator So- 

krates declares the task of the 
public orator to be easy Comic 
exaggeration of the effects of the 
harangue 401 



Sokrates professes to have learnt a 
funeral harangue from Aspasia, 
and to be competent to recite 
it himself. Menexenus entreats 
him to do so 402 

Harangue recited by Sokrates .. 403 

Compliments of Menexenus after 
Sokrates has finished, both to the 
harangue itself and to Aspasia . . ib. 

Supposed period shortly after the 
peace of Antalkidas ib. 

Custom of Athens about funeral 
harangues. Many such har- 
angues existed at Athens, com- 
posed by distinguished orators 
or logographers Established 
type of the harangue 404 

Plato in this harangue conforms 
to the established type Topics 
on which he insists 405 

Consolation and exhortation to 
surviving relatives 407 


Admiration felt for this harangue, 

both at the time and afterwards 407 
Probable motives of Plato in corn- 

Losing it, shortly after he estab- 
shed himself at Athens as a 
teacher His competition with 
Lysias Desire for celebrity both 
as rhetor and as dialectician . . ib. 

Menexenus compared with the 
view of rhetoric presented in 
the Gorgias Necessity for an 
orator to conform to established 
sentiments 409 

Colloquial portion of the Mene- 
xenus is probably intended as 
ridicule and sneer at Rhetoric 
Tho harangue itself is serious, 
and intended as an evidence of 
Plato's ability 410 

Anachronism of the Menexonus 
Plato careless on this point . . 411 


Persons and circumstances of Klei- 
tophon 413 

Conversation of Sokrates with 
Kleitophon alone : he alludes 
to observations of an unfavour- 
able character recently made by 
Kleitophon, who asks permission 
to explain 

Explanation given. Kleitophon ex- 
presses gratitude and admiration 
for the benefit which he has de- 
rived from long companionship 
with Sokrates 414 

The observations made by Sokrates 
have been most salutary and 
stimulating in awakening ardour 
for virtue. Arguments and ana- 
logies commonly used by Sokrates ib. 

But Sokrates does not explain what 
virtue is, nor how it is to be 
attained. Kleitophon has had 
enough of stimulus, and now 
wants information how he is to 
act 415 

Questions addressed by Kleito- 
phon with this view, both to the 
companions of Sokrates and to 
Sokrates himself 416 

Replies made by the friends of So- 
krates unsatisfactory ib. 

None of them could explain what 
the special work of justice or 
virtue was 417 

Kleitophon at length asked the 
question from Sokrates himself. 
But Sokrates did not answer 
clearly. Kleitophon believes 
that Sokrates knows, but will 
not tell 417 

Kleitophon is on the point of leav- 
ing Sokrates and going to Thra- 
symachus. But before leaving 
he addresses one last entreaty, 
that Sokrates will speak out 
clearly and explicitly 418 

Remarks on the Kleitophon. Why 
Thrasyllus placed it in the 
eighth Tetralogy immediately 
before the Republic, and along 
with Kritias, the other frag- 
ment 419 

Kleitophon is genuine, and per- 
fectly in harmony with a just 
theory of Plato 420 

It could not have been published 
until after Plato's death .. .. b. 

Reasons why the Kleitophon was 
never finished. It points out the 
defects of Sokrates. just as he 
himself confesses them in the 
Apology 421 

The same defects also confessed in 
many of the Platonic and Xeno- 
phpntic dialogues 422 

Forcible, yet respectful, manner in 
which these defects are set forth 




in the Kleitophon. Impossible 
to answer them -in such a way as 
to hold out against the negative 
Elenchus of a Hokratic pupil . . 423 
The Kleitophon represents a point 
of view which many objectors 
must havo insisted on against 


Sokrates and Plato 424 

The Kleitophon was originally in- 
tended as a first book of the 
Republic, but was found too 
hard to answer. Reasons why 
the existing first book was sub- 
stituted ib. 




I PUT together these two dialogues, as distinguished by a marked 
peculiarity. They are the two erotic dialogues of Thesetwo 
Plato. They have one great and interesting subject are the two 
common to both : though in the Phaedrus, this subject fogues of" 
is blended with, and made contributory to, another. drug's the*" 
They agree also in the circumstance, that Phsedrus is, originator 
in both, the person who originates the conversation. * 
But they differ materially in the manner of handling, in the 
comparisons and illustrations, and in the apparent purpose. 

The subject common to both is, Love or Eros in its largest 
sense, and with its manifold varieties. Under the Erosascon . 
totally different vein of sentiment which prevails in ceivedby 
modern times, and which recognises passionate love ferentsenti- 
as prevailing only between persons of different sex SSnt fc?Hef-~ 
it is difficult for us to enter into Plato's eloquent lenican- 
exposition of the feeling as he conceives it. In the 
Hellenic point of view, 1 upon which Plato builds, the 
attachment of man to woman was regarded as a of women 
natural impulse, and as a domestic, social, sentiment ; Greece. 

i Schleierraacher(Einleit.zumSymp. 'Epamk, Diogenes Laert. v. 22-24. 

p. 367) describes this view of Eros as See Bernays, Die Dialoge des An- 

Hellenic, and as " gerade den anti- stoteles, p. 133, Berlin, 1863. 
modernen und anti-christlichen Pol Compare the dialogue called 'E/- 

der Platonischen Denkungsart". Ari- TIKOS, among the works of Plutarch, p. 

stotie composed 0e<m$ EpumKai or 750 seq., where some of the speakers, 



yet as belonging to a common-place rather than to an exalted 
mind, and seldom or never rising to that pitch of enthusiasm 
which overpowers all other emotions, absorbs the whole man, 
and aims either at the joint performance of great exploits or 
the joint prosecution of intellectual improvement by continued 
colloquy. We must remember that the wives and daughters of 
citizens were seldom seen abroad : that the wife was married 
very young : that she had learnt nothing except spinning and 
weaving : that the fact of her having seen as little and heard as 
little as possible, was considered as rendering her more acceptable 
to her husband : l that her sphere of duty and exertion was 

especially Protogenes, illustrate and we rind the speaker Apollod6rus dis- 

enlarge upon this Platonic construe- tributing the relations of men with 

tion of Eros aAi)0tyov S "Epwros ovfi* women in the following manner (p. 

briovv TQ yyvaiKaivirtSi /meTeo-rii/, <fec. 1380) TO yap cruvot/cetj/ TOVT' eornv, 

(750 C, 761 B, &C.) &S a.v TraiSoTroojTat /cat eitrdyy; eis re 

In the Treatise De Educatione TOV S^/noVas /cat TOUS <f>p<xTopas TOWS 

Puerorum (C. 15, p. 11 D-F) Plutarch viets, /cat ras^ fluyare'pas Kt8< w? 

hesitates to give a decided opinion on avTOv ovcras rot? avSpdcri. Tas /u,e> yap 

the amount Of restriction proper to be eratpas, ^OVTJS eVeica^ exo/mei/ ras 8e 

imposed on youth ; he is much im- raAA,a>cds, r>j /ca0' ^/u-epav fapaneias 

pressed with the authority of Sokrates, TOV o-wnxaros ra? 8e yvpat/ca?, TOV 

Plato, Xenophon, JEschineS, Kebs, 7raifio7rotto-0at y^o-tws, /cat r<av ev8ov 

teal rbv iravra. \6pov e/cetVwf rSiv av~ <f>v\a.Ka iri(TTi\v e^eiv. 

$p<ov, ot TOV? appevas e8oKifj.a<ra.v epwTas, To the same purpose, the speaker in 

<fec. See the anecdote about Epis- Lysias CVT^P TOV 'Eparoo-Oevovs <f>6vov 

thenes, an officer among the Ten sect. 7), describing his wife, says 

Thousand Greeks under Xenophon, ev n*v olv r< TrpwTw xp v <? <r>v fy 

in Xenophon, Anabasis, vii. 4, 7, and /SeArto-Tij /cat yap oi/coydju-os fietia) /cat 

a remarkable passage about Zeno the $et$<*>Ab? ayadq /cal d/cpij3a>9 irdvra 6iot- 

Stoic, Diog. Laert. vii. 13. Respecting /covo-a. 

the general subject of 7rai8epacrrt'a in Neither of these three relations lent 

Greece, there is a valuable Excursus itself readily to the Platonic vein of 

in Bekker's Charikles, vol. i. pp. 347- sentiment and ideality : neither of 

377, Excurs. ii. I agree generally with them led to any grand results either in 

his belief about the practice in Greece, war-K>r political ambition or philo- 

ee Cicero, Tusc. Disp. iv. 33, 70. sophical speculation; the three great 

Bekker quotes abundant authorities, roads, in one or other of which the 

which might be farther multiplied if Grecian ideality travelled. We know 

necessary. In appreciating the evi- from the Republic that Plato did not 

dence upon this point, we cannot be too appreciate the value of the family life, 

careful w> keep in mind what Sokrates or the purposes for which men marry, 

says (in the Xenophontic Symposion, according to the above passage cited 

vhi. 84) when comparing the Thebans from Demosthenes. In this point, 

And Eleians on one side with the Athe- Plato differs from Xenophon, who, 

nians and Spartans on the other in his (Economicus, enlarges much 

'E/ceiVois /tie i/ yap Tavra vrffu/u.a, yfjuv 8% (in the discourse of Ischomachus) upon 

erroveiSurra.. We must interpret pas- the value of the conjugal union, with 

sages of the classical authors according a view to prudential results and good 

to their fair and real meanings, not ac- management of the household ; while 

cording to the conclusions which we he illustrates the sentimental and 

might wish to find proved. affectionate side of it, in the story of 

If we read the oration of Demos- Pantheia and Abradates (Cyropeedia). 
thenes against Necera (which is full of 1 See the (Economicus of Xenophon, 

information about Athenian manners), cap. iii. 12, vii. 5. 



confined to the interior of the family. The beauty of women 
yielded satisfaction to the senses, but little beyond. It was the 
masculine beauty of youth that fired the Hellenic imagination 
with glowing and impassioned sentiment. The finest youths, 
and those too of the best families and education, were seen 
habitually uncovered in the Palsestra and at the public festival- 
matches ; engaged in active contention and graceful exercise, 
under the direction of professional trainers. The sight of the 
living form, in such perfection, movement, and variety, awakened 
a powerful emotional sympathy, blended with aesthetic senti- 
ment, which in the more susceptible natures was exalted into 
intense and passionate devotion. The terms in which this 
feeling is described, both by Plato and Xenophon; are among 
the strongest which the language affords and are predicated even 
of Sokrates himself. Far from being ashamed of the feeling, 
they consider it admirable and beneficial ; though very liable to 
abuse, which they emphatically denounce and forbid. 1 In their 

iThe beginning of the Platonic 
CharmidSs illustrates what is here 
said, pp. 154-155 ; also that of the 
Protagoras and Lysis, pp. 205-206. 

Xenophon, Sympos. i. 8-11 ; iv. 11, 
15. Memorab. i. 3, 8-14 (what Sokrates 
observes to Xenophon about Krito- 
bulus). Dikaearcnus (companion of 
Aristotle) disapproved the important 
influence which Plato assigned to Eros 
(Cicero, Tusc. D. iv. 34-71). 

If we pass to the second century 
after the Christian Era, we find some 
speakers in Athenseus blaming se- 
verely the amorous sentiments of So- 
krates and the narrative of Alkibiades, 
as recited in the Platonic Symposium 
(v. 180-187; xi. 506-508 CY Athenseus 
remarks farther, that Plato, writing 
in this strain, had little right to com- 
plain (as we read in the Republic) of 
the licentious compositions of Homer 
and other poets, and to exclude them 
from his model city. Maximus Tyrius, 
in one of his four discourses (23-5) on 
the pamKT} of Sokrates, makes the 
same remark as Athenaaus about the 
inconsistency of Plato in banishing 
Homer from the model city, and com- 
posing what we read in the Sym- 
posion; he farther observes that the 
erotic dispositions of Sokrates pro- 
yoked no censure from his numerous 
enemies at the time (though they 
assailed him upon so many other 

points), but had incurred great censure 
from contemporaries of Maximus hiin- 
self, to whom he replies TOVS wvl 
/ca-njyrfpovs (23, 6-7). The comparisons 
which he institutes (23, 9) between the 
sentiments and phrases of Sokrates, 
and those of Sappho and Anakreon, 
are very curious. 

Dionysius of Halikarnassus speak 
of the eyKufua on Eros in the Sym- 
posion, as " unworthy of serious hand- 
ling or of Sokrates". (De Admir. Vi 
Die. Demosth. p. 1027.) 

But the most bitter among all the 
critics of Plato, is Herakleitus author 
of the Allegorise Homericse. Hera- 
kleitus repels, as unjust and calumnious, 
the sentence of banishment pronounced 
by Plato against Homer, from whom all 
mental cultivation had been derived. 
He affirms, and tries to show, that 
the poems of Homer which he admits 
to be full of immorality if literally 
understood had an allegorical mean- 
ing. He blames Plato for not having 
perceived this; and denounces him 
still more severely for the character of 
hia own writings eaptyOu 8$ KM IIAA- 
ruv 6 *6\a, xWpov <ruKo^di/nj 
Tows Se n\aro>vo? dia\6yov<;, &vu> K<U 
jcdrw jroifiucol KaQvpptfovcnv epwrec, 
OV&OJAOV 6e ov\l rik <xppVog irt0vpi'a? 
ftecrrds e<rrw 6 av-ffp (Herakl. All. 
Horn., c. 4-74, ed. Menler, Leiden, 


view, it was an idealising passion, which tended to raise a man 
above the vulgar and selfish pursuits of life, and even above the 
fear of death. The devoted attachments which it inspired were 
dreaded by the despots, who forbade the assemblage of youths for 
exercise in the palaestra. 1 

Especially to Plato, who combined erotic and poetical imagina- 
v . tion with Sokratic dialectics and generalising theory 

dereci as the this passion presented itself in the light of a stimulus* 
fus tpfrn 1111 introductory to the work of philosophy an impulse 
Pos^hfcai 1 * at ^ rst i m P etuous an( * undistinguishing, but after- 
communion, wards regulated towards improving communion and 
Beauty? 1 the colloquy with an improvable youth. Personal beauty 
of 1?* roxi* ^* s * s * ^ e remar ^ a ^ e doctrine of Plato in the Phae- 
mation be- drus) is the main point of visible resemblance between 
world of 16 tne world of sense and the world of Ideas : the Idea 
Sense and o f Beauty has a brilliant representative of itself among 
the world of J . . ,1 T i < T -im 

ideas. Gra- concrete objects the Ideas of Justice and Temperance 

ra2sa??on of nave none - The contemplation of a beautiful youth, 
the senti- and the vehement emotion accompanying it, was the 
only way of reviving in the soul the Idea of Beauty 
which it had seen in its antecedent stage of existence. This was 
the first stage through which every philosopher must pass ; but 
the emotion of love thus raised, became gradually in the better 
minds both expanded and purified. The lover did not merely 
admire the person, but also contracted the strongest sympathy 
with the feelings and character, of the beloved youth : delighting 
to recognise and promote in him all manifestations of mental 
beauty which were in harmony with the physical, so as to raise 
him to the greatest attainable perfection of human nature. The 
original sentiment of admiration, having been thus first trans- 
ferred by association from beauty in the person to beauty in the 
mind and character, became gradually still farther generalised ; 
so that beauty was perceived not as exclusively specialised in any 
one individual, but as invested in all beautiful objects, bodies as 
well as minds. The view would presently be farther enlarged. 

i Plato, Sympos, 182 C. The pro- These two citizens were gratefully re- 

ceedings of Harmodius and Aristo- collected and extensively admired by 

geiton, which illustrate this feeling, the Athenian public, 
are recounted by Thucydides, vi. 54-57. a Plato, Phaedrus, pp. 249 E, 250 B-E. 


The like sentiment would be inspired, so as to worship beauty in 
public institutions, in administrative arrangements, in arts and 
sciences. And the mind would at last be exalted to the con- 
templation of that which pervades and gives common character 
to all these particulars Beauty in the abstract or the Self- 
Beautiful the Idea or Form of the Beautiful. To reach this 
highest summit, after mounting all the previous stages, and to 
live absorbed in the contemplation of " the great ocean of the 
beautiful," was the most glorious privilege attainable by any 
human being. It was indeed attainable only by a few highly 
gifted minds. But others might make more or less approach to 
it : and the nearer any one approached, the greater measure 
would he ensure to himself of real good and happiness. 1 

Such is Plato's conception of Eros or Love and its object. He 
represents it as one special form or variety of the All men love 
universal law of gravitation pervading all mankind. means*of the 
Every one loves, desires, or aspires to happiness : this ? a t p |j! nes8 ' 
is the fundamental or primordial law of human nature, pursue it by 
beyond which we cannot push enquiry. Good, or Jfeans. 8 The 
good things, are nothing else but the means to happi- nam e Eros is 
h 3 Ti i-^ i confined to 

ness : 2 accordingly, every man, loving happiness, loves one special 

good also, and desires not only full acquisition, but i^g^vs^ is 
perpetual possession of good. In this wide sense, love riety. 
belongs to all human beings : every man loves good and happi- 
ness, with perpetual possession of them and nothing else. 8 
But different men have different ways of pursuing this same 

i Plato, Sympos. pp. 210-211. 

Respecting the Beautiful, I tran- 
scribe nere a passage from Ficinus, in 
his Argument prefixed to the Hippias 
Major, p. 757. " Unumquodque 6 
singulisipulchris, pulchrum hoc Plato 
vocat : formara in omnibus, pulchritu- 
dinem ; spec i em et id earn supra omnia, 
ipsum pulchrum. Primum sensus at- 
tingit opinioque. Secundum ratio co- 
gitat. Tertium inens intuetur. 

"Quid ipsum Bonum? Ipsum re- 
rum omnium principium, actus ipurus, 
actus sequentia cuncta vivincans. 
Quid ipsum Pulchrum? Vivificus 
actus e primo fonte bonorum effluens, 
Mentem primo divinam idearum 01- 
dine infinite decorans, Numina deinde 
sequentia mentesqne rationum serie 
compleus, Animas tertio numerosis dis- 

cursibus ornans, Naturas quarto semi- 
nibus, formis quinto rnateriam." 

2 Plato, Sympos. pp. 204-205. *epe, 
o eptav r!av ayjaflwi/, TL epa; rW<r0at 
TJ^V o' eyai, avrtf. Kat ri ecrrat eiceCvtf <J 
OLV yevijTdL TayaOa; TOUT* evtropUTtpov, 
%v 8'^ eyw, exo airoKpCvacrQai, on cv&ai- 
IJLWV forrcu. Kr^cm yap, e<j>v), aya.Q!ov, ol 
evSa.ifj.ovei; ev5at/x.o^e? Kal OVK^TC frpo<r- 
Sel epecrdat, 'iva ri Be /SouAerat tvoa.ifj.tav 
flvcu, o /3ovAd/xei/o?, dAAd TAo? Sonet 
Zxeiv Tf anoKpio-K;. . . . Tavrrfv ill r^jv 
pov\r)<riv Kal rbv cpa>ra TOVTOI/, irorepa 
KOivbv etpat rrdvrtav a.v0pu>ir<av, *a.i irav- 
ras Ta.ya.6a ^ovAecrdat avrot? ti/ai aei', 
f) trws Aeyets; Owrwy, ty 8* yw, xowbv 
elvat. ir&VTotv. 

3^Pliito, Sympos. p. 206^ A. a* ovoev 
ye aAAo i<rrlv ot iptatrtv avOpuirot % rov 
ay o0ov. 


object. One man aspires to good or happiness by way of money- 
getting, another by way of ambition, a third by gymnastics or 
music or philosophy. Still no one of these is said to love, or to 
be under the influence of Eros. That name is reserved ex- 
clusively for one special variety of it the impulse towards 
copulation, generation, and self-perpetuation, which agitates both 
bodies and minds throughout animal nature. Desiring perpetual 
possession of good, all men desire to perpetuate themselves, and 
to become immortal. But an individual man or animal cannot 
be immortal : he can only attain a quasi-immortality by gene- 
rating a new individual to replace himself. 1 In fact even mortal 
life admits no continuity, but is only a succession of distinct 
states or phenomena : one always disappearing and another 
always appearing, each generated by its antecedent and gene- 
rating its consequent. Though a man from infancy to old age is 
called the same, yet he never continues the same for two moments 
together, either in body or mind. As his blood, flesh, bones, &c., 
are in perpetual disappearance and renovation, always coming 
and going so likewise are his sensations, thoughts, emotions, 
dispositions, cognitions, &c. Neither mentally nor physically 
does he ever continue the same during successive instants. The 
old man of this instant perishes and is replaced by a new man 
during the next. 2 As this is true of the individual, so it is still 
more true of the species : continuance or immortality is secured 
only by perpetual generation of new individuals. 

The love of immortality thus manifests itself in living beings 
Desire of through the copulative and procreative impulse, which 

mental go powerfully instigates living man in mind, as well as 

copulation . \ ^ & . & 

andprocrea- in body. Beauty in another person exercises an 

oniy'aUaiif- attractive force which enables this impulse to be 

able like- gratified : ugliness on the contrary repels and stifles 

mortality, it. Hence springs the love of beauty or rather, of 

sfgSt ofpe P r o crea ti n in the beautiful whereby satisfaction is- 

sonal beauty obtained for this restless and impatient agitation.* 

natingstf-" With some, this erotic impulse stimulates the body, 

inulus. attracting them towards women, and inducing them 

1 Plato, SympOS. p. 207 C. TTTOIJO-IS ysyove irepl TO icaAbv 6ta TO |*ya- 

3 Plato, SympOS. pp. 207-208. Ai?s u>8ti/os airo\veiv rov exovra. Earl 

8 Plato. SymjptOS. p. 206 E. oQcv STJ -yap ov TOU *aAov 6 pu>9, aAAa TTJS yev- 

rtf jcvovvTt T *ai TjSij crTropywvTi iroAAirj 17 i/Tjaew? ical TOV TOKOV ev r<j KaAw. 


to immortalise themselves by begetting children : with others, it 
acts far more powerfully on the mind, and determines them to 
conjunction with another mind for the purpose of generating 
appropriate mental offspring and products. In this case as well 
as in the preceding, the first stroke of attraction arises from the 
charm of physical, visible, and youthful beauty : but when, along 
with this beauty of person, there is found the additional charm 
of a susceptible, generous, intelligent mind, the effect produced 
by the two together is overwhelming ; the bodily sympathy be- 
coming spiritualised and absorbed by the mental. With the 
inventive and aspiring intelligences poets like Homer and 
Hesiod, or legislators like Lykurgus and Solon the erotic 
impulse takes this turn. They look about for some youth, at 
once handsome and improvable, in conversation with whom 
they may procreate new reasonings respecting virtue ancj good- 
nessnew excellences of disposition and new force of intel- 
lectual combination, in both the communicants. The attachment 
between the two becomes so strong that they can hardly live 
apart : so anxious are both of them to foster and confirm the 
newly acquired mental force of which each is respectively con- 
scious in himself. 1 

Occasionally, and in a few privileged natures, this erotic im- 
pulse rises to a still higher exaltation, losing its separate . 
and exclusive attachment to one individual person, altationof 
and fastening upon beauty in general, or that which i^puise^n a 
all beautiful persons and beautiful minds have in Jewprivi- 

mi -i i i PI ,-f > i -i legedminds, 

common. The visible charm of beautiful body, when it 

though it was indispensable as an initial step, comes 

to be still farther sunk and undervalued, when the love of 
mind has ascended to the contemplation of beauty in genere. This 
genere, not merely in bodies and minds, but in laws, absorbing* 
institutions, and sciences. This is the highest pitch sentiment 
of philosophical love, to which a few minds only are 
competent, and that too by successive steps of ascent : but which, 
when attained, is thoroughly soul-satisfying. If any man's 
vision be once sharpened so that he can see beauty pure and 
absolute, he will have no eyes for the individual manifestations 

i Plato, Sympos. p. 209. 




of it in gold, fine raiment, brilliant colours, or beautiful youths. 1 
Herein we have the climax or consummation of that erotic 
aspiration which first shows itself in the form of virtuous attach- 
ment to youth. 2 

It is thus that Plato, in the Symposion, presents Love, or 
Purpose of er tic impulse : a passion taking its origin in the 
physical and mental attributes common to most men, 
and concentrated at first upon some individual person 
but gradually becoming both more intense and 
more refined, as it ascends in the scale of logical 
generalisation and comes into intimate view of the 
pure idea of Beauty. The main purpose of the Sym- 
posion is to contrast this Platonic view of Eros or 

the Sympo- 
sion, to con- 
trast this 
view of 
Eros with 
views of it 

speakers; Love which is assigned to Sokrates in the dialogue, 
a panfgyric 1 an( ^ * s re P ea ted by him from the communication of a 
on Sokrates, prophetic woman named Diotima 3 with different 
drunken views assigned to other speakers. Each of the guests 
Alkibiades. a t the Banquet Phsedrus, Pausanias, Eryximachus, 
Aristophanes, Agathon, Sokrates engages to deliver a panegyric 
on Eros : while Alkibiades, entering intoxicated after the speeches 
are finished, delivers a panegyric on Sokrates, in regard to 
energy and self-denial generally, but mainly and specially in the 
character of Erastes. The pure and devoted attachment of 
Sokrates towards Alkibiades himself his inflexible self-com- 
mand under the extreme of trial and temptation the unbounded 
ascendancy which he had acquired over that insolent youth, who 
seeks in every conceivable manner to render himself acceptable 
to Sokrates are emphatically extolled, and illustrated by 
singular details. 

1 Plato, Symposion, p. 211. 

2 Plato, Symposion, p. 211 B. orav 
Sij^Ttf cwrb Twi/Se fiia rb opflcos 7rai5epa<r- 
relv firoLviuv etceipo rb <caAbi/ apxjTai 
jcadopfv, (Tx*$bv av rt airrotro TOV 
T^Aov? , &C. 

8 Plat. Sympos. p. 201 D. ywaticbs 
/majTiKYjs Aiori/jia, 77 ravrd re <ro<p^ fy 
teal aXXa *roAA<, ical 'Aflipatois TTOTC 
^voi.s trpb TOV Aotfiov Sexa errj ava- 
4irotncr r^s vo<rov, ^ ^ *eal e/*i ra 


Instead of yvvatKo? navTiKTjs, which 
was the old reading, Stallbaum and 
other editors prefer to write ywauebs 

MarrivixTj?, also 211 B. I cannot but 
think that inavri.^ is right. There is 
no pertinence or nt meaning hi Mavrt- 
VIKTJS, whereas the word /LKU>TIKT}S is in 
full keeping with what is said about the 
special religious privileges and revela- 
tions of Diotima that she procured 
for the Athenians an adjournment of 
the plague for ten years. The Delphian 
oracle assured the Lydian king Kroesus 
that Apollo had obtained from the 
Molpai a postponement of the ruin of 
the Lydian kingdom for three years, 
but that he could obtain from them no 
more (Herodot. i. 91). 


Both Phgedrus l and Pausanias, in their respective encomiums 
upon Eros, dwell upon that God as creating within views of 
the human bosom by his inspirations the noblest JjJtecTby 
self-denial and the most devoted heroism, together Phadrus, 
with the strongest incentives to virtuous behaviour. Eryxfmaf ' 
Pausanias however makes distinctions : recognising tophane?" 
and condemning various erotic manifestations as Agathon.' 
abusive, violent, sensual and supposing for these a separate 
inspiring Deity Eros Pandmus, contrasted with the good and 
honourable Eros Urariius 2 or Ccelestis. In regard to the different 
views taken of Eros by Eryximachus, Aristophanes, and Agathon 
the first is medical, physiological, cosmical 3 the second is 
comic and imaginative, even to exuberance the third is poetical 
or dithyrambic : immediately upon which follows the analytical 
and philosophical exposition ascribed to Sokrates, opened in his 
dialectic manner by a cross-examination of his predecessor, and 
proceeding to enunciate the opinions communicated to him by 
the prophetess Diotima. 

Sokrates treats most of the preceding panegyrics as pleasing 

fancies not founded in truth. In his representation TMscourse 
y ., , - -TV- x- \ -r. ' A -i_ i A.-C i of Sokrates 

(cited from Diotima) Eros is neither beautiful, nor fromrevela- 

good, nor happy ; nor is he indeed a God at all. He $ a of g^ 

is one of the numerous intermediate body of Daemons, describes 
f . r* i , . , i . Eros as not 

inferior to Gods yet superior to men, and serving as a God, but 

interpreting agents of communication between the Jaediate" 
two. 4 Eros is the offspring of Poverty and Resource Daemon be- 
(Porus). 5 He represents the state of aspiration and and men, 

iSydenham conceives and Boeckh procreative impulse, compare Euripides, 
(ad Plat. Legg. iii. 694) concurs with Frag. Incert. 3, 0, assigned by Welcker 
him, that this discourse, assigned to (Griech. Trag. p. 737) to the lost drama 
Phsedrus, is intended by Plato as an the first Hippolytus ; also the beau- 
imitation of the style of Lysias. This tiful invocation with which the poem 
is sufficiently probable. The enco- of Lucretius opens, and the fragmentary 
mium on Eros delivered by Agathon, exordium remaining from the poem of 
especially the concluding part of it Parmenides. 
(p. 197), mimics the style of florid < rn~4 a ~,.^ ~ OAO o/v> 
eliminate poetry, overcharged with 4 PlaU) ' SW 8 - P* m ' m - 
balanced phrases (ier<5/ea>A<*, avrtOera), 5 What Sokrates says here in the 
which Aristophanes parodies in Aga- Symposion about Eros is altogether at 
thon's name at the beginning of the variance with what Sokrates says about 
Thesmophoriazusce, Athenceus, v. 187 Eros in Phaedrus, wherein we find him 
C. speaking with the greatest reverence 
2 Plato, Sympos. pp. 180-181. and awe about Erogas a powerful God, 
8 Respecting this view of Eros or son of Aphroditd (Phaedrns, pp. 242 D, 
Aphrodite, as a cosmical, all-pervading, 243 D, 257 A). 


constantly striving, with ability and energy, after goodness and 
divinity, beauty, but never actually possessing them : a middle 
attaining condition, preferable to that of the person who 
it. neither knows that he is deficient in them, nor cares 

to possess them : but inferior to the condition of him who is 
actually in possession. Eros is always Love of something in 
relation to something yet unattained, but desired : Eros is to be 
distinguished carefully from the object desired. 1 He is the 
parallel of the philosopher, who is neither ignorant nor wise : 
not ignorant, because genuine ignorance is unconscious of itself 
and fancies itself to be knowledge : not wise, because he does not 
possess wisdom, and is well aware that he does not possess it. 
He is in the intermediate stage, knowing that he does not 
possess wisdom, but constantly desiring it and struggling after it. 
Eros, like philosophy, represents this continual aspiration and 
advance towards a goal never attained. 2 

It is thus that the truly Platonic conception of Love is brought 
out, materially different from that of the preceding 
the erotic speakers Love, as a state of conscious want, and of 
w^hthaTof aspiration or endeavour to satisfy that want, by 
the philo- striving after good or happiness Philosophy as the 
knows his like intermediate state, in regard to wisdom. And 
rancefand Plato follows out this coalescence of love and philo- 

thirsts for sophy in the manner which has been briefly sketched 
knowledge. / J , , , J , 

above : a vehement impulse towards mental commu- 
nion with some favoured youth, in the view of producing mental 
improvement, good, and happiness to both persons concerned : the 
same impulse afterwards expanding, so as to grasp the good and 
beautiful in a larger sense, and ultimately to fasten on goodness 
and beauty in the pure Idea : which is absolute independent of 
time, place, circumstances, and all variable elements moreover 
the object of the one and supreme science. 8 

1 Plato, Symposion, pp^. 199-200. *O /uir/re oi a/.a0is; . . . Ot /wrafv TOVTWK 
*Epws epcos t<rr\v ouSeybsij Tiv6s ; Haw a/u.<oTepwi>, &v a$ <cal 6^ *Epa>s. 'Earl 

' * 


v etrriv. . ^, . IIoTepov o^Epws vap 6r) rStv KaAAi'<rnai> q tro^ta, 
tKeivov o5 fOTtv epws, e7rt<?vjuiet avroO j o ecrrlv epws Trepi TO ftaAov wcrre 
ow ; H&w yt. . . . "Ai'ayiCTj rb eniOv avayKaiov *Epwra <^t\o<ro<^oc eTvai, ^>tAo- 
fjLOvv^ern&vfJLelv o5 evSee's i<rri.v, q /x^ ert- <ro<f>ov 8k OVTO. fxerafu tlvan, cro<}>ou Kai 
Ovnlv, eelv 

n, pp. 210-211. 


I will now compare the Symposion with the Phcedrus. In 
the first half of the Phoedrus also, Eros, and the Self- Eros as pre- 
Beautiful or the pure Idea of the Beautiful, are &"% 
brought into close coalescence with philosophy and drus Dis- 
dialectic but they are presented in a different Lysias, and 
manner. Plato begins by setting forth the case against ^sccmrse of 
Eros in two competing discourses (one cited from Sokrates, 
Lysias, 1 the other pronounced by Sokrates himself as Eros- 
competitor with Lysias in eloquence) supposed to be ^eteed 
addressed to a youth, and intended to convince him with re- 

, , , .-, . -, -I , IT A f ' i morse, and 

that the persuasions of a calm and intelligent friend recants in a 
are more worthy of being listened to than the exag- Jj^iegyric 1 
gerated promises and protestations of an impassioned on Eros. 
lover, from whom he will receive more injury than benefit : that 
the inspirations of Eros are a sort of madness, irrational and 
misguiding as well as capricious and transitory : while the calm 
and steady friend, unmoved by any passionate inspiration, will 
show himself worthy of permanent esteem and gratitude.' 2 
By a sudden revulsion of feeling, Sokrates becomes ashamed 
of having thus slandered the divine Eros, and proceeds to deliver 
a counter-panegyric or palinode upon that God. 3 

Eros (he says) is, mad, irrational, superseding reason and 
prudence in the individual mind. 4 This is true : yet Panegyric 
still Eros exercises a beneficent and improving in- ^niftthat 

fluence. Not all madness is bad. Some varieties of the * n j u - 

i i i .L - 1 i c\ f ence of Kroa 

it are bad, but others are good. Some arise from is a variety 

human malady, others from the inspirations of the 2u?di!tfn- S ' 

Gods : both of them supersede human reason and the guishes 

orthodoxy of established custom 5 but the former flad^arie- 

feubstitute what is worse, the latter what is better, madness 

The greatest blessings enjoyed by man arise from both coming 

madness, when it is imparted by divine inspiration. Gods. Good 

1 Plato, Plisedrus, p. 230 seq. 4 Plato, Phsedrus, pp. 265-266. rb 

2 Plato, Phsedrus,ip. 237 seq. a<poi/ rrjs Siavoias tv n KOIVJJ elSoy. . . . 

3 Eros, in the Pnaedras, is pro- rb rijs n-apapoia; <Js li/ iv rifiiv 7r</>VKbs 
nounced to be a God, son of Aphroditd eto?. Compare p. 236 A. 

(p. 242 E) ; in the Symposion he is not Plato, Phsedrus, p. 265 A. MavC&i 

a God but a Daemon, offspring of Porus 8e y eidij 6vo rty ptv t itwb vo^tMrtav 

and Penia, and attendant on Aphro- av9^oirivv t r^v firf, virb faias 4oAAay>fc 

dit6, according to Diotima and So- r>v e\ie6r<av vopiiuav yiyvofJievrjv. Com- 

krutes (p. 2ua). pare 249 D. 




far tetter 8 ^ n ^ ^ * s so i m P arte( ^ ^ n ^ our different phases and by 
than so- four different Gods : Apollo infuses the prophetic 
briety. madness Dionysus, the ritual or religious The 

Muses, the poetical and Eros, the erotic. 1 This last sort of 
madness greatly transcends the sober reason and concentration 
upon narrow objects which is so much praised by mankind 
generally. 2 The inspired and exalted lover deserves every 
preference over the unimpassioned friend. 

Plato then illustrates, by a highly poetical and imaginative 
mythe, the growth and working of love in the soul. 
All soul or mind is essentially self-moving, and the 
cause of motion to other things. It is therefore im- 
mortal, without beginning or end : the universal or 
cosmic soul, as well as the individual souls of Gods 
and men. 3 Each soul may be compared to a chariot 
with a winged pair of horses. In the divine soul, 
both the horses are excellent, with perfect wings : in 
the human soul, one only of them is good, the other 
is violent and rebellious, often disobedient to the 
charioteer, and with feeble or half-grown wings. 4 The 
Gods, by means of their wings, are enabled to ascend 
up to the summit of the celestial firmament to place themselves 
upon the outer circumference or back of the heaven and thus to 
be carried round along with the rotation of the celestial sphere 
round the Earth. In the course of this rotation they contemplate 
the pure essences and Ideas, truth and reality without either form 
or figure or colour : they enjoy the vision of the Absolute Justice, 
Temperance, Beauty, Science. The human souls, with their defec- 
tive wings, try to accompany the Gods ; some attaching themselves 

mythe de- 
livered by 
the immor- 
tality and 
ence of the 
soul, and its 
of partial 
ship with 
Gods and 


1 Plato, Phsedrus, p. 244 A. et ^v 
ip fy\ovv rb fiavCav KCLKOV eli'ou, /ea- 
ch/ iXeyero vvv 8e TO. /*yi<rra Ttov 

ayadiav yf/w.tJ' yiyverat Sta. navias, 6eL<$ 
/xeVrot 6<rei fitSo/uieV^s. 

Compare Plutarch, 'EpomKds, c. 16. 
pp. 758-759, &c. 

2 Plato, Phsedrus, p. 245 B. /u.T)S<? 




rrpb TOV lee/ctVTjjiieVow rbv 
irpoaipetcrQai <}>i\ov. 

P. 256 E : T/ Se an* TOV 


re icai . 

vwb ir\r)Qovs 

Plato, Phsedrus, pp. 245-246. Com- 
pare Krische, De Platonis Phsedro, pp. 
49-50 (Gottingen, 1848). 

Plato himself calls this panegyric in 
the mouth of Sokrates a ju.v0uc6 ns 
vnvos (Phredr. p. 265 D). 

* The reader will recollect Homer. 
Iliad, xvi. 152, where the chariot and 
horses of Patroklus are described, when 
*PWI/TOS he is about to attack the Trojans ; the 
mortal horse Pedasus is harnessed to 
it alongside of the two immortal horses 
Xanthus and Balius. 



to one God, some to another, in this ascent. But many of them 
fail in the object, being thrown back upon earth in consequence 
of their defective equipment, and the unruly character of one of 
the horses : some however succeed partially, obtaining glimpses 
of Truth and of the general Ideas, though in a manner transient 
and incomplete. 

Those souls which have not seen Truth or general Ideas at all, 
can never be joined with the body of a man, but only 
with that of some inferior animal. It is essential that of such pre- 
some glimpse of truth should have been obtained, in perfence 
order to qualify the soul for the condition of man : l upon the 
f A.I i j> -L .j.1 1* J.T intellectual 

for the mind of man must possess within itself the faculties of 

capacity of comparing and combining particular 

sensations, so as to rise to one general conception cpmbina- 

brought together by reason. 2 This is brought about particular 

by the process of reminiscence ; whereby it recalls fndi^pen" 8 

those pure, true, and beautiful Ideas which it had sable Ee- 
.. I, , . . , , . , mmiscence. 

partially seen during its prior extra-corporeal exist- 

ence in companionship with the Gods. The rudimentary faculty 
of thus reviving these general Conceptions the visions of a prior 
State of existence belongs to all men, distinguishing them from 
other animals : but in most men the visions have been transient, 
and the power of reviving them is faint and dormant. It is 
only some few philosophers, whose minds, having been effectively 
winged in their primitive state for ascent to the super-celestial 
regions, have enjoyed such a full contemplation of the divine 
Ideas as to be able to recall them with facility and success, 
during the subsequent corporeal existence. To the reminiscence 
of the philosopher, these Ideas present- themselves with such 
brilliancy and fascination, that he forgets all other pursuits and 
interests". Hence he is set down as a madman by the generality 
of mankind, whose minds have not ascended beyond particular 
and present phenomena to the revival of the anterior Ideas. 

1 Plato, Phfiedrus, pp. 249-250. iraa-a. et? ToSe rjei TO orxjma. Aei yap avtfpw- 
ftev dvflpwtrov ^x^ 9v<rei redearat TO, trov guvitvcu. tear' et$o? t \fyofjt,fvov t 4* 
oWa ^ ovK-av -JjA0ei> ets r65% ro^wov TroAAwv Ibv aio-Oyaretav 919 *v \oyttrfup 
apafUfiP^crjcco-tfat 8' &K r>v8e Ifcetpa ov ^vvaipov^vov. TOVTO &e io-rtv avdnvycris 
pf Siov ofl-acrrj, <fe<5. ^Kfivtav, a TTQT elSev vifjuav 17 ^VY>; ffvfjurop- 

2 Plato, Phaedrus, p. 249 B. Ov *v0eZ<ra 0ti$ ai vn-eptfiovora ^a vvv elvo.L 
yap TJ yt ^17 wore iSouaa rr^v a\^0etav <j>ap.ev, /cat avoKvif/acra ely TO ov OPTUS. 


It is by the aspect of visible beauty, as embodied in distin- 
Reminis- guislied youth, that this faculty of reminiscence is 
kindled up first kindled in minds capable of the effort. It is 
in the soul only the embodiment of beauty, acting as it does 
Josopher by powerfully upon the most intellectual of our senses, 

the aspect which has sufficient force to kindle up the first act 

of visible r 

Beauty, or stage of reminiscence in the mind, leading ulti- 

theg^eat mately to the revival of the Idea of Beauty. The 
tw k rUne embodiments of justice, wisdom, temperance, &c., in 
world of particular men, do not strike forcibly on the senses, 
thTworid nor approximate sufficiently to the original Idea, to 
of Ideas. effect the first stroke of reminiscence in an unpre- 
pared mind. It is only the visible manifestation of beauty, 
which strikes with sufficient shock at once on the senses and the 
intellect, to recall in the mind an adumbration of the primitive 
Idea of Beauty. The shock thus received first develops the 
reminiscent faculty in minds apt and predisposed to it, and 
causes the undeveloped wings of the soul to begin growing. It 
is a passion of violent and absorbing character ; which may in- 
deed take a sensual turn, by the misconduct of the unruly horse 
in the team, producing in that case nothing but corruption and 
mischief but which may also take a virtuous, sentimental, 
imaginative turn, and becomes in that case the most powerful 
stimulus towards mental improvement in both the two attached 
friends. When thus refined and spiritualised, it can find its 
satisfaction only in philosophical communion, in the generation 
of wisdom and virtue ; as well as in the complete cultivation of 
that reminiscent power, which vivifies in the mind remembrance 
of Forms or Ideas seen in a prior existence. To attain such per- 
fection, is given to few ; but a greater or less approximation may 
be made to it. And it is the only way of developing the highest 
powers and virtues of the mind ; which must spring, not from 
human prudence and sobriety, but from divine madness or erotic 
inspiration. 1 

i Plato, Phsedrus, p. 256 B. oC /utec- of which I have given some of the 

ov ayotfbv OVT flrto^poirvi/ij avOpunivi) leading points, occupies from c. 61 to 

OVT 0eta fxavta Svi/ar^ rropt'o-ai a^pa>7ra>. c. 83 (pp. 244-257) of the dialogue. It 

245 B : eir evrvYtV "Hi /*>yiorrfl wapa is adapted to the Hellenic imagination, 

4ewi> ^ Toiav-nj navia. sCSore.i. and requires the reader to keep before 

The long and highly poetical mythe, him the palaestrae of Athens, as de- 


Such is the general tenor of the dialogue Phsedrus, in its first 
half: which presents to us the Platonic love, conceived as the 
source and mainspring of exalted virtue as the only avenue to 
philosophy as contrasted, not merely with sensual love, but also 
with the sobriety of the decent citizen who fully conforms to the 
teaching of Law and Custom. In the Symposion, the first of 
these contrasts appears prominently, while the second is less 
noticed. In the Phsedrus, Sokrates declares emphatically that 
madness, of a certain sort, is greatly preferable to sobriety : that 
the temperate, respectable, orthodox citizen, is on the middle 
line, some madmen being worse than he, but others better : that 
madness springing from human distemper is worse, but that 
when it springs from divine inspiration, it is in an equal degree 
better, than sobriety : that the philosophical cestrus, and the 
reminiscence of the eternal Ideas (considered by Plato as the 
only true and real Entia), is inconsistent with that which is 
esteemed as sobriety : and is generated only by special inocula- 
tion from Eros or some other God. This last contrast, as I havq 
just observed, is little marked in the Symposion. But on the 
other hand, the Symposion (especially the discourse of Sokrates 
and his repetition of the lessons of Diotima), insists much more 
upon the generalisation of the erotic impulse. In the Phsedrus, 
we still remain on the ground of fervent attachment between two 
individuals an attachment sentimental and virtuous, displaying 
itself in an intercourse which elicits from both of them active 
intelligence and exalted modes of conduct : in the Symposion, 
such intercourse is assimilated explicitly to copulation with pro- 
creative consequences, but it is represented as the first stage of a 
passion which becomes more and more expanded and compre- 
hensive : dropping all restriction to any single individual, and 
enlarging itself not merely to embrace pursuits, and institutions, 
but also to the plenitude and great ocean of Beauty in its largest 

The picture here presented by Plato, of the beneficent and 
elevating influence of Eros Philosophus, is repeated Elevating 
by Sokrates as a revelation made to him by the ascribed 8 
prophetess Diotima. It was much taken to heart by both in ' 

scribed in the Lysis, Erastee, and Char- like Sokrates and by men like Kritiaa 
mides of Plato visited both by men (Xenoph. Memor. i. 2, 29). 




Pheedrus the Neo-Platonists. 1 It is a striking manifestation of 

sion.toEros the Platonic characteristics : transition from amorous 
phus. Mix- 
ture in the 
mind of 
Plato, of 
fancy and 

mysticism, ,1 --i * .1 . 

with dialec- serve the theorising purpose of the moment, 
tic theory. 

impulse to religious and philosophical mysticism 
implication of poetical fancy with the conception of 
the philosophising process surrender of the mind to 
metaphor and analogy, which is real up to a certain 
point, but is forcibly stretched and exaggerated to 


we may observe, that the worship of youthful mascu- 
line beauty, and the belief that contemplation of such a face and 
form was an operative cause, not only raising the admiration but 
also quickening the intelligence of the adult spectator, and serv- 
ing as a provocative to instructive dialogue together with a de- 
cided attempt to exalt the spiritual side of this influence and 
depreciate the sensual both these are common to Plato with 
Sukrates and Xenophon. But what is peculiar to Plato is, that 
he treats this merely as an initial point to spring from, and soars 
at once into the region of abstractions, until he gets clear of all 
particulars and concomitants, leaving nothing except Beauty 
Absolute ro KaXoy TO avrb-Ka\bv the " full sea of the beauti- 
ful". Not without reason does Diotima express a doubt whether 
Sokrates (if we mean thereby the historical Sokrates) could have 
followed so bold a flight. His wings might probably have failed 

i Porphyry, Vit. Plotini, 23. 

Plato s way of combining, in these 
two dialogues so as to pass by an easy 
thread of association from one to the 
other subjects which appear to us 
unconnected and even discordant, is 
certainly remarkable. We have to 
recognise material differences in the 
turn of imagination, as between diffe- 
rent persons and ages. The following 
remark of Professor Mohl, respecting 
the Persian lyric poet Hafts, illustrates 
this point. "Au reste, quand meme 
nous serions mieux renaeignes sur 
sa vie, il resterait touiours pour nous 
le singulier spectacle d'un nomine qui 
tantot c616bre 1'absorption de I'tlme 
dans 1'essence de Dieu, tantot chante 
le vin et 1'amour, sans grossierete, il 
est vrai, mais avec un laisser aller et 
un naturel qui exclut toute id<5e de 
symbolisme et qui gfoeralemeut glisse 
de Tune dans Vautre de ces deux 
ma meres de sentir, qui nous paraissent 

si differentes, sans s' apercevoir lui- 
meme qu'il change de sujet. Les 
Orientaux ont cherch6 la solution de 
cette difficult^ dans une interpretation 
mystique de toutes ses poesies ; mais 
les textes s' y refusent. Des critiques 
modernes ont vouln 1'expliquer en 
supposant une hypocrisie de 1'auteur, 
qui lui aurait fait meler une certaine 
aose de piete mystique, & ses vers plus 
legers, pour les faire passer: mais ce 
calcul parait etranger & la nature de 
1'homme. Je crois qu'il faut trouver 
le mot de 1'enigine dans 1'etat g^u6ral 
des esprits et de la culture de son 
temps: et la di'nculte pour nous est 
seulement de nous rcpresonter assez 
vivement I'titat des esprits en Perse a 
cette epoque, et la nature de 1'iafluence 
que le Soufisme y exer^ait depuis des 
siecles sur toutes les classes culti- 
vees de la nation." -Mohl (Rapport 
Annuel a la Societe* Asiatique, 1861, 
p. 89.) ' 


and dropped him : as we read in the Phcedrus respecting the un- 
prepared souls who try to rise aloft in company with the Gods. 
Plato alone is the' true Dsodalus equal to this flight, borne up by 
wings not inferior to those of Pindar l according to the com- 
parison of Dionysius of Halikarnassus. 

Various remarks may be made, in comparing this exposition 
of Diotima in the Symposion with that which we read in the 
Phsedrus and Phredon. 

First, in the Phaidrus and Phsedon (also in the Timaeus and 
elsewhere), the pre-existeiice of the soul, and its ante- Differences 
cedent familiarity, greater or less, with the world of Between 

! . , , Symposion 

Ideas, are brought into the foreground ; so as to and Phne- 

furnish a basis for that doctrine of reminiscence, dwelling* 
which is one of the peculiar characteristics of Plato. ^JJJj^J 8 
The Form or Idea, when once disengaged from the the former, 
appendages by which it has been overgrown, is said to experience* 
be recognised by the mind and welcomed as an old ^y^ he latter, 
acquaintance. But in the Symposion, no such doctrine is found. 
The mind is described as rising by gradual steps from the con- 
crete and particular to the abstract and general, by recognising 
the sameness of one attribute as pervading many particulars, and 
by extending its comparisons from smaller groups of particulars 
to larger ; until at length one and the same attribute is perceived 
to belong to all. The mind is supposed to evolve out of itself, 
and to generate in some companion mind, certain abstract or 
general conceptions, correlating with the Forms or Concepta 
without. The fundamental postulate here is, not that of pro- 
existence, but that of in-dwelling conceptions. 

Secondly, in the Phaedrus and Pha3don, the soul is declared to 
be immortal, d parte post as well as d parte ante. But , 
in the Symposion, this is affirmed to be impossible. 2 metaphor^ 
The soul yearns for, but is forbidden to reach, im- teiit^recog- 
mortality ; or at least can only reach immortality in gteea in 
a metaphorical sense, by its prolific operation by ympoaon< 
generating in itself as long as it lasts, and in other minds who- 
will survive it, a self-renewing series of noble thoughts and 

i Dionys. Hal. De Adm. Vi Die. in Demosth., p. 972, Beiske. 
a Plato, Sympos. pp. 207-208. 



feelings by leaving a name and reputation to survive in the 
memory of others. 

Thirdly, in Phsedrus, Phsedon, Republic, and elsewhere, Plato 
Form or recognises many distinct Forms or Ideas a world or 
Idea of aggregate of such Entia Rationis 1 among which 
sentecf Pfe Beauty is one, but only one. It is the exalted privi- 
excfusive? ^ e ^ e ^ e phil so phi c mmd to come into contempla- 
in Sympo- tion and cognition of these Forms generally. But in 
son> the Symposion, the Form of Beauty (TO Ka\6v) is 

presented singly and exclusively as if the communion with this 
one Form were the sole occupation of the most exalted philo- 

Fourthly, The Phsedrus and Symposion have, both of them in 
common, the theory of Eros as the indispensable, 
' initiatory, stimulus to philosophy. The spectacle of 

a b eau tif u l youth is considered necessary to set light 
posion, as to various elements in the mind, which would other- 
the initia- wi se remaii} dormant and never burn : it enables the 
huFto^Slo P re 8 nan t an( l capable mind to bring forth what it has 
sophy Not within and to put out its hidden strength. But if we 
nisedln" look to the Phaedon, Thesetetus, Sophist^s, or Re- 
Theset&tus P u ^ c i we shall not find Eros invoked for any such 
and else- ' function. The Republic describes an elaborate scheme 
w ere * for generating and developing the philosophic capa- 
city : but Eros plays no part in it. In the Thesetetus, the young 
man so named is announced as having a pregnant mind requiring 
to be disburthened, and great capacity which needs foreign aid to 
develop it : the service needed is rendered by Sokrates, who 
possesses an obstetric patent, and a marvellous faculty of cross- 
examination. Yet instead of any auxiliary stimulus arising from 
personal beauty, the personal ugliness of both persons in the 
dialogue is emphatically signified. 

I note these peculiarities, partly of the Symposion, partly of 
the Phaedrus along with it to illustrate the varying points of 
view which the reader must expect to meet in travelling through 
the numerous Platonic dialogues. 

1 Plat. Bepub. v. 476- He recog- as well as Forma of SUcuop, 
nises Forms of adiitov, Ktut6v t aloxprfc, KaArfp, &c. 


In the strange scene with which the Symposion is wound up, the 
main purpose of the dialogue is still farther worked out. concluding 
The spirit and ethical character of Eros Philosophus, JJJUJ^J 
after having been depicted in general terms by Dio- Alkibiades 
tima, are specially exemplified in the personal history 8 i n -32- 
of Sokrates, as recounted and appreciated by Alki- gomtesto 
biades. That handsome, high-born, and insolent Alkibiades 
youth, being in a complete state of intoxication, breaks handsome 
in unexpectedly upon the company, all of whom are y oatlls - 
as yet sober : he enacts the part of a drunken man both in speech 
and action, which is described with a vivacity that would do 
credit to any dramatist. His presence is the signal for beginning 
to drink hard, and he especially challenges Sokrates to drink off, 
after him, as much wine as will fill the large water- vessel serving 
as cooler ; which challenge Sokrates forthwith accepts and exe- 
cutes, without being the least affected by it. Alkibiades instead 
of following the example of the others by delivering an encomium 
on Eros, undertakes to deliver one upon Sokrates. He proceeds 
to depict Sokrates as the votary of Eros Philosophus, wrapped up 
in the contemplation of beautiful youths, and employing his 
whole time in colloquy with them yet as never losing his own 
self-command, even while acquiring a magical ascendency over 
these companions. 1 The abnormal exterior of Sokrates, re- 
sembling that of a Satyr, though concealing the image of a God 
within the eccentric pungency of his conversation, blending 
banter with seriousness, homely illustrations with impressive 
principles has exercised an influence at once fascinating, sub- 
jugating, humiliating. The impudent Alkibiades has been made 
to feel painfully his own unworthiness, even while receiving 
every mark of admiration from others. He has become enthusi- 
astically devoted to Sokrates, whom he has sought to attach to 
himself, and to lay under obligation, by tempting offers of every 
kind. The details of these offers are given with a fulness which 
cannot be translated to modern readers, and which even then 
req,uired to be excused as the revelations of a drunken man. 
They present one of the boldest fictions in the Greek language 
if we look at them in conjunction with the real character of 

i Plato, Syinpos. p. 216 C-D. 


Alkibiades as an historical person. 1 Sokrates is found proof 
against every variety of temptation, however seductive to Grecian 
feeling. In his case, Eros Philosophus maintains his dignity as* 
exclusively pure, sentimental, and spiritual : while Alkibiadea 
retires more humiliated than ever. We are given to understand 
that the like offers had been made to Sokrates by many other 
handsome youths also especially by Charmides and Euthydemus- 
all of them being treated with the same quiet and repellent 
indifference. 2 Sokrates had kept on the vantage-ground as re- 
gards all : and was regarded by all with the same mixture of 
humble veneration and earnest attachment. 

Not merely upon this point but upon others also, Alkibiades. 
Perfect self- recounts anecdotes of the perfect self-mastery of So- 
krates : in endurance of cold, heat, hunger, and fatigue 

proof against j n contempt of the dangers of war, in bravery on 

every sort of . , -,,,, ,- f i 

trial. the day of battle even in the power of bearing more 

wine than any one else, without being intoxicated, whenever the 
occasion was such as to require him to drink : though he never 
drank much willingly. While all his emotions are thus described 
as under the full control of Keason and Eros Philosophus his 
special gift and privilege was that of conversation not less- 

* Plato, Sympos. p. 219. See also, of Plotinus ; who was much displeased, 

respecting the historical Alkibiades and directed Porphyry to compose a. 

and his character, Thucyd. vi. 15 ; reply. 
Xenoph. Memor. i. 1; Antisthenes, 2 Plato, Symp. p. 222 B. 
apud Atheneeuin, xii. 534. In the Hieron of Xenophon (xi. 11> 

The invention of Plato goes beyond a conversation between the despot 

that of those ingenious men who re- Hieron and the poet Simonides the 

counted how Phryne and Lais had poet, exhorting Hieron to govern hi 

failed in attempts to overcome the con- subjects in a mild, beneficent, and 

tinence of Xenokrates, Diog. L. iv. 7 : careful spirit, expatiates upon the 

and the saying of Lais, <Ss ov*c an popularity and warm affection which he 

avSpos, a\\' an avSpiavros, avaa-Tairi. will thereby attract to himself from 

Qumtilian (vffi. 4, 22-23) aptly enough them. Of this affection one manifesta- 

compares the description given by tion will be (he says) as follows : 

Alkioiades -as the maximum of testi- wore ov fi.6vov <iA.ou> av, dAAa teal 

mony to the " invicta continentia " of ep<o, vn avOpunuv Kal TOVS * a- 

Sokrates with the testimony to the Aovs ov 7reip?, aAAa 7retpa>- 

surpassing beauty of Helen, borne by pevov vn avrStv dve'xe<r0at 

such witnesses as the Trojan 5>jju.oye- a v <r e 8 o t, &c. 
pot/res and Priam himself (Horn. Iliad These words illustrate the adventure 

lii. 156). One of the speakers in A the- described by Alkibiades in the Platonic 

neeus censures severely this portion Symposion. 

of the Platonic Symposion, xi. 506 C, Herakleides of Pontus, Diksearchus. 

508 D, v. 187 D. Porphyry (in his and the Peripatetic Hieronymus, all 

life of Plotinus, 15) tells us that composed treatises Uepl "Epwros, espe- 

the rhetor Diophanes delivered an cially nepl vraiSut&v cpwrwv (Athense. 

apology for Alkibiades, in the presence xiii. 602-603). 



Tijic, is not af- 
Jrilb fectedbyit, 

eccentric in manner, than potent, soul-subduing, 1 and provocative 
in its effects. 

After the speech of Alkibiades is concluded, the close of the 
banquet is described by the primary narrator. He Drunken- 
himself, with Agathon and Aristophanes, and several ^f^^ ttn 
other fresh revellers, continue to drink wine until all close of the 
of them become dead drunk. While Phasdrus, Eryxi- 
machus, and others retire, Sokrates remains. 
competency to bear the maximum of wine without but con 
being disturbed by it, is tested to the full. Although dMectic 
he had before, in acceptance of the challenge of Alki- P rocess - 
biades, swallowed the contents of the wine cooler, he nevertheless 
continues all the night to drink wine in large bowls, along with 
the rest. All the while, however, he goes on debating his 
ordinary topics, even though no one is sufficiently sober to attend 
to him, His companions successively fall asleep, and at day- 
break, he finds himself the only person sober, 2 except Aristodemus 
(the narrator of the whole scene), who has recently waked after a 
long sleep. Sokrates quits the house of Agathon, with unclouded 
senses and undiminished activity bathes and then visits the 

1 Plato, Sympos. pp. 221-222. 

Alkibiades recites acts of distin- 
guished courage performed by So- 
krates. at the siege of Potidsea as well 
as at the battle of Delium. 

About the potent effect produced 
by the conversation of Sokrates upon 
his companions, compare Sympos. p. 
173 C-D. 

In the Xenophontic Apology (s. 18), 
Sokrates adverts to the undisturbed 
equanimity which he had shown dur- 
ing the long blockade of Athens after 
the battle of JSgospotami, while others 
were bewailing the famine and other 

2 In Sympos. p. 176 B, Sokrates is 
recognised as Su^aTwraTos irivew, above 
all the rest : no one can be compared 
with him . In the two first books of the 
Treatise Be Legibus. we shall find 
much to illustrate what is here said 
(in the Symposion) about the power 
ascribed to him of drinking more wine 
than any one else, without being at all 
affected by it. Plato discusses the 
subject of strong potations Oe'foj) at 
great length ; indeed he seems to fear 
that his readers will think he says too 
much upon it (i. 642 A). He con- 

siders it of great advantage to have 
a test to apply, such as wine, for the 
purpose of measuring the reason and 
self-command of different men, and 
of determining how much wine is suffi- 
cient to overthrow it, in each different 
case (i. 649 C-E). You can make this 
trial (he argues) in each case, without 
any danger or harm ; and you can thus 
escape the necessity of making the 
trial in a real case of emergency. 
Plato insists upon the xP* t/a TV* ^n^> 
as a genuine test, to be seriously em- 
ployed for the purpose of testing men's 
reason and force of character (ii. p. 
673). In the Eepublic, too (iii. p. 
413 E), the <vA.cuces are required to 
be tested, in regard to their capacity 
of resisting pleasurable temptation, as 
well as pam and danger. 

Among the titles of the lost treatises 
of Theophrastus, we find one lie pi 
Me'flrj* (Diog. L. v. 44). It is one of 
the compliments that the Emperor 
Marcus Antoninus (i. 16) pays to his 
father That he was, like Sokrates, 
equally competent both to partake of, 
and to abstain from, the most seductive 
enjoyments, without ever losing hid 
calmness and self-mastery. 


gymnasium at the Lykeion ; where he passes all the 'day in his. 
usual abundant colloquy. 1 

The picture of Sokrates, in the Symposion, forms a natural 
Symposion contrast and complement to the picture of him in the 
dn--eachis P n8e( *on ; though the conjecture of Schleiermacher 2 
the anti- that the two together are intended to make up the 
complement Philosophus, or third member of the trilogy promised 
of the other. j n the gophistes is ingenious rather than convincing. 
The Phaedon depicts Sokrates in his last conversation with his- 
friends, immediately before his death ; the Symposion presents 
him in the exuberance of life, health, and cheerfulness : in both 
situations, we find the same attributes manifested perfect 
equanimity and self-command, proof against every variety of 
disturbing agency whether tempting or terrible absorbing 
interest in philosophical dialectic. The first of these two ele- 
ments, if it stood alone, would be virtuous sobriety, yet not 
passing beyond the limit of mortal virtue : the last of the two 
stiperadds a higher element, which Plato conceives to transcend 
the limit of mortal virtue, and to depend upon divine inspiration 
or madness. 8 

The Symposion of Plato aifords also an interesting subject of 
Symposion comparison with that of his contemporary Xenophon, 
of Plato as to points of agreement as well as of difference. 4 
withthat of Xenophon states in the beginning that he intends to 
Xenophon. describe what passed in a scene where he himself was 

i Plato. Sympos. p. 223. Symposia of Xenophon and Plato a 

2Einleitung zum Gastmahl, p. 359 dramatic variety of characters and 

seq. smartness finds fault with both, but 

s Plato, Phiedrus, p. 256 C-E. <ro>- especially with Plato, for levity, rude- 

4>pocrvvTi Ovqrr) epam/cr? /uavia : crtatypo- ness, indecency, vulgarity, sneering, 

a-vvy) dvflpwTrun)- 0eta pavia. Compare &c. The talk was almost entirely 

p. 244 B. upon love and joviality. In the Sym- 

4 Pontianus, one of the speakers in posion of Epikurus. on the contrary, 

Athemeus (xi. 504), touches upon some nothing was said about these topics ; 

points of this comparison, with a view the guests were fewer, the conversation 

of illustrating the real or supposed was grave and dull, upon dry topic* 

enmity between Plato and Xenophon ; of science, such as the atomic theory 

an enmity not in itself improbable, yet (irpwHras a-ro^Mv, v. 3, 187 B, 177 B. 

not sufficiently proved. 'Eirucovpo* M frv/nro<ru>i> <iAocr<$Ai> 

Athena>us had before him the Sym- novov iretroiV<")> and even upon bodily 

posion of Epikurus (not preserved) as ailments, such as indigestion or fever 

well as those of Plato, Xenophon, and (187 C). The philosophers present 

Aristotle (xv. 674) ; and we learn from were made by Epikurus to carry on 

him some of its distinctive points, their debate in so friendly a spirit, that 

Masurius (the speaker in Athenaeus, the critic calls them " flatterers prais- 

v. init.) while he recognises in the ing each other " ; while he terms the 


present ; because he is of opinion that the proceedings of excel- 
lent men, in hours of amusement, are not less worthy of being 
recorded than those of their serious hours. Both Plato and 
Xenophon take for their main subject a festive banquet, destined 
to celebrate the success of a young man in a competitive struggle. 
In Plato, the success is one of mind and genius Agathon has 
gained the prize of tragedy : in Xenophon, it is one of bodily 
force and skill Autolykus victor in the pankration. The Sym- 
posion of Xenophon differs from that of Plato, in the same 
manner as the Memorabilia of Xenophon generally differ from 
the Sokratic dialogues of Plato that is, by approaching much 
nearer to common life and reality. It describes a banquet such 
as was likely enough to take place, with the usual accompani- 
mentsa professional jester, and a Syracusan ballet-master who 
brings with him a dancing-girl, a girl to play on the flute and 
harp, and a handsome youth. These artists contribute to the 
amusement of the company by music, dancing, throwing up ball* 
and catching them again, jumping into and out of a circle of 
swords. All this would have occurred at an ordinary banquet : 
here, it is accompanied and followed by remarks of pleasantry, 
buffoonery and taunt, interchanged between the guests. Nearly 
all the guests take part, more or less : but Sokrates is made the 
prominent figure throughout. He repudiates the offer of scented 
unguents : but he recommends the drinking of wine, though 
moderately, and in small cups. The whole company are under- 
stood to be somewhat elevated with wine, but not one of them 
becomes intoxicated. Sokrates not only talks as much fun as the 
rest, but even sings, and speaks of learning to dance, jesting on 
his own corpulence. 1 Most part of the scene is broad farce, in 
the manner, though not with all the humour, of Aristophanes. 3 

Platonic guests " sneerers insulting thinking about nothing but convivial 

each other" (jt-vK-r^fmrrStv i/vAijAov? and sexual pleasure. 
Ttaea(6i>T<av, 182 A), though this is 1 Xenophon, Sympos. vif. 1 ; ii. 18- 

mucn more true about the Xenophontic 19. irpoya<rrwp, &c. 
Symposion than about the Platonic. 2 The taunt ascribed to the jester 

He remarks farther that the Symposion Philippus, about the cowardice of the 

of Epikuras included no libation or demagogue Peisander, is completely 

offering to the Gods (179 D). Aristophanic, ii. 14 ; also that of An- 

It is curious to note these peculiarities tisthenes respecting the bad temper of 

in the compositions (now lost) of a Xanthippe, ii. 10 ; and the caricature 

philosopher like Epikurus, whom many of the movements of the opyqcrrpif by 

historians of philosophy represent as Philippus, ii. 21. Compare also iii. 11. 


The number and variety of the persons present is considerable, 
greater than in most of the Aristophanic plays. 1 Kallias, Lykon, 
Autolykus, Sokrates, Antisthenes, Hermogenes, Nikeratus, Krito- 
bulus, have each his own peculiarity : and a certain amount of 
vivacity and amusement arises from the way in which each of 
them is required, at the challenge of Sokrates, to declare on what 
it is that he most prides himself. Sokrates himself carries the 
burlesque farther than any of them ; pretending to be equal in 
personal beauty to Kritobulus, and priding himself upon the 
function of a pander, which he professes to exercise. Antisthenes, 
however, is offended, when Sokrates fastens upon him a similar 
function : but the latter softens the meaning of the term so as to 
appease him. In general, each guest is made to take pride in 
something the direct reverse of that which really belongs to him ; 
and to defend his thesis in a strain of humorous parody. Antis- 
thenes, for example, boasts of his wealth. The Syracusan 
ballet-master is described as jealous of Sokrates, and as addressing 
to him some remarks of offensive rudeness ; which Sokrates turns 
off, and even begins to sing, for the purpose of preventing con- 
fusion and ill-temper from spreading among the company : 2 
while he at the same time gives prudent advice to the Syracusan 
about the exhibitions likely to be acceptable. 

Though the Xenophontic Symposion is declared to be an 
Small pro- alternate mixture of banter and seriousness, 8 yet the 
the^serious on ^ ^ On 8 ser ^ ous argument or lecture delivered is 
in the ' that by Sokratee ; in which he pronounces a professed 
tic^ym- 0n " panegyric upon Eros, but at the same time pointedly 
posion. distinguishes the sentimental from the sensual. He 
denounces the latter, and confines his panegyric to the former 
selecting Kallias and Autolykus as honourable examples of it. 4 

1 Xen. Symp. c. 4-5. t v t elate with wine o re yap oTi/os aryve- 

2 Xeil. Symp. vi. AVTTJ IJLSV }) ira- Troupe i, /cat 6 del <TVVOIKOS e/xol epcos 
poivta OVT<*> Karetr/SeVflrj, vii. 1-5, KevrpC^ec e!$ rbv a.VTiira\ov epwTa avrov 

Epiktetus insists upon this feature 7rappijcride<r0ai. 

in the character of Sokrates his The contrast between the customs of 

patience and power of soothing angry the Thebans and Eleians, and those of 

men (ii. 12-14). the Lacedaemonians, is again noted by 

8 Xen. Symp. iv. 28. dvafu ICTKW- Xenophon, Eep. Laced, ii. 13. Plato 

tya.v re K<U eoTrovfiaerai/, viii. 41. puts (Symp. 182) a like contrast into 

4 Xen. Symp. viii. 24. The argu- the mouth of Pausanias, assimilating 

ment against the sensual is enforced the customs of Athens in this respect 

with so much warmth that Sokrates is to those of Sparta. The comparison 

made to advert to the fact of his being between Plato and Xenophon is here 


The Xenophontic Symposion closes with a pantomimic scene 
of Dionysus and Ariadn as lovers represented (at the instance 
of Sokrates) by the Syracusan ballet-master and his staff. This 
is described as an exciting spectacle to most of the hearers, 
married as well as unmarried, who retire with agreeable emotions. 
Sokrates himself departs with Lykon and Kallias, to be present 
at the exercise of Autolykus. 1 

We see thus that the Platonic Symposion is much more ideal, 
and departs farther from common practice and scnti- P i aton j c 

ment, than the Xenophontic. It discards all the Symposion 
t> i , / i T ' more ideal 

common accessories of a banquet (musical or dancing an( j tran- 

artists), and throws the guests altogether upon their 
own powers of rhetoric and dialectic, for amusement. ^ 

If we go through the different encomiums upon Eros, p on 1C ' 
by Phsedrus, Pausanias, Eryximachus, Aristophanes, Agathon, 
Diotima we shall appreciate the many-coloured forms and 
exuberance of the Platonic imagination, as compared with the 
more restricted range and common-place practical sense of Xeno- 
phon. 2 All the Platonic speakers are accomplished persons a 
man of letters, a physician, two successful poets, a prophetess : 
the Xenophontic personages, except Sokrates and Antisthenes, 
are persons of ordinary capacity. The Platonic Symposion, after 
presenting Eros in five different points of view, gives pre-emi- 
nence and emphasis to a sixth, in which Eros is regarded as the 
privileged minister and conductor to the mysteries of philosophy, 
both the lowest and the highest : the Xenophontic Symposion 
dwells upon one view only of Eros (developed by Sokrates) and 
cites Kallias as example of it, making no mention of philosophy. 
The Platonic Symposion exalts Sokrates, as the representative of 
Eros Philosophus, to a pinnacle of eleyation which places him 
above human fears and weaknesses 8 coupled however with that 

curious ; we see how mnch more 2 The difference between the two 

copious and inventive is the reasoning coincides very much with that which 

of Plato. is drawn by Plato himself in the 

i Xen. Symp. viii. 5, ix. 7. The close Phsedrus 0eia/*ai'iaas contrasted with 

of the Xenophontic Symposion is, to a <r<a<j>pocrvvri Qvyni (p. 256 E). Compare 

great degree, in harmony with modern . Athenseus, v. 1&7 B. 

sentiment, though what is there ex- spiato, Phsedrus, p. 249 D. vov- 

pressed would probably be left to be QerciTaC fiev un-b rStv iro\titv s Trapa- 

understood. The Platonic Symposion KIV&V, eveovcrtafrv 8e A.A>?0e TOVS woA.- 

departs altogether from that senti- Aov?. . . . alriav x e 

ment. /xei'o?. 




eccentricity which, makes the vulgar regard a philosopher as out 
of his mind : the Xenophontic Symposion presents him only as 
a cheerful, amiable companion, advising temperance, yet enjoying 
a convivial hour, and contributing more than any one else to the 
general hilarity. 

Such are the points of comparison which present themselves 
between the same subject as handled by these two eminent con- 
temporaries, both of them companions, and admirers of Sokrates : 
and each handling it in his own manner. 1 

I have already stated that the first half of the Pheedrus differs 
materially from the second ; and that its three dis- 
courses on the subject of Eros (the first two depreciat- 
ing Eros, the third being an effusion of high-flown and 
poetical panegyric on the same theme) may be better 
understood by being looked at in conjunction with the 
Symposion. The second half of the Phaedrus passes 
into a different discussion, criticising the discourse of 
Lysias as a rhetorical composition : examining the 
principles upon which the teaching of Rhetoric as an Art either 

Second half 
of the Phae- 
passes into 
a debate on 
Eros is con- 
sidered as a 
subject for 

i Which of these two Symposia was 
latest in date of composition we cannot 
determine with certainty : though it 
seems certain that the latest of the two 
was not composed in imitation of the 

From the allusion to the SIOUCKTIS of 
Mantitieia (p. 193 A) we know that 
the Platonic Symposion must have 
been composed after 385 B.C. : there is 
great probability also, though not full 
certainty, that it was composed during 
the time when Mantineia was still an 
aggregate of separate villages and not 
a town that is, between 385-370 B.C., 
irt which latter year Mantineia was 
re-established as a city. The Xeno- 
phontic Symposion affords no mark of 
date of composition : Xenophon reports 
it as having been himself present. It 
does indeed contain, in the speech 
delivered by Sokrates (viii. 32), an 
allusion to, and a criticism upon, an 
opinion supported by ^Pausanias 6 
'Aya0wi>os TOV TTOITJTOV epao-njs, who 
discourses in the Platonic Symposion : 
and several critics think that this is an 
allusion by Xenophon to the Platonic 
Symposion. I think this opinion im- 
probable. It would require us to sup- 
pose that Xenophon is inaccurate, since 

the opinion which he ascribes to Pan- 
sanias is not delivered by Pausanias 
in the Platonic Symposion, but by 
Phredrus. Athenseus (v. 216) remarks 
that the opinion is not delivered by 
Pausanias, but he does not mention 
that it is delivered by Phsedrus. He 
remarks that there was no known 
written composition of Pausanias him- 
self : and he seems to suppose that 
Xenophon must have alluded to the 
Platonic Symposion, but that he quoted 
it inaccurately or out of another version 
of it, different from what we now read. 
Athenseus wastes reasoning in proving 
that the conversation described in the 
Platonic Symposion cannot have really 
occurred at the time to which Plato 
assigns it. This is unimportant : the 
speeches are doubtless all composed by 
Plato. If Athenseus was anxious to 
prove anachronism against Plato, I am 
surprised that he did not notice that of 
the SioiKicns of Mantineia mentioned 
in a conversation supposed to have 
taken place in the presence of Sokrates, 
who died in 899 B.C. 

I incline to believe that the allusion 
of Xenophon is not intended to apply 
to the Symposion of Plato. Xenophon 
ascribes one opinion to Pausanias, 


is founded, or ought to be founded : and estimating the efficacy 
of written discourse generally, as a means of working upon or 
instructing other minds. 

I heard one of our active political citizens (says Phsedrus) 
severely denounce Lysias, and fasten upon him with j~ sias j a 
contempt, many times over, the title of a logographer. called a lo- 
Active politicians will not consent to compose and fy g ac$ve r 
leave behind them written discourses, for fear of ^tJJSf 1 ^' 
being called Sophists. 1 To write discourses (replies conveyed by 
Sokrates) is noway discreditable : the real question is, sokrates de- 

whether he writes them well. 2 And the same ques- 
tion is the only one proper to be asked about other question is, 
writers on all subjects public or private, in prose or man writes 
in verse. How to speak well, and how to write well weU or m ? 
is the problem. 3 Is there any art or systematic method, 
capable of being laid down beforehand and defended upon 
principle, for accomplishing the object well ? Or does a man 
succeed only by unsystematic knack or practice, such as he can 
neither realise distinctly to his own consciousness, nor describe 
to others ? 

Plato ascribes another; this is noway 
inconceivable. I therefore remain in 
doubt whether the Xenophontic or the 
Platonic Symposion is earliest. Com- 
pare the Prsef. of Schneider to the 
former, pp. 140-143. 

1 Plato, Phsedrus, p. 257 C. 

2 Plato, Pheedrus, pp. 267 E, 258 D. 
The two appellations Aoyoypctyos 

and <ro</>tcmjs -are here coupled to- 
gether as terms of reproach, just as 
they stand coupled in Demosthenes, 
Fals. Leg. p. 417. It is plain that 
both appellations acquired their dis- 
creditable import mainly from the col- 
lateral circumstance that the persons 
so denominated took money for their 
compositions or teaching. The Aoyn- 
yp<f>os wrote for pay, and on behalf of 
any client who could pay him. In the 
strict etymological sense, neither of 
the two terms would imply any re- 

Yet Plato, in this dialogue, when he 
is discussing the worth of the reproach 

really gave point to it and made it 
serve the purpose of a hostile speaker. 
This is the more remarkable, because 
we find Plato multiplying opportuni- 
ties, even on unsuitable occasions, of 
taunting the Sophists with the fact 
that they took money. Here in the 
Phsedrus, we should have expected that 
if he noticed the imputation at all, he 
would notice it in the sense intended 
by the speaker. In this sense, indeed, 
it would not have suited the purpose 
of his argument, since he wishes to 
make it an introduction to a philoso- 
phical estimate of the value of writing 
as a means of instruction. 

Heindorf observes, that Plato has 
used a similar liberty in comparing 
the A.oyoypa0o? to the proposer of a 
law or decree. "Igitur, quum solemne 
legura initium ejusmodi esset, eoe 
TO /3ovAfl, &c., Plato aliter Iong6 
quam vulgo acciperetur, neque sine 
calumnia quadam, interpretatus est" 
(ad p. 258). . 

ful imputation fastened on Lysias, takes 3 Plato, Phaedrus, p. 259 E. on-n 
the term Aoyoypotyos only in this ety- icaAws exet Myetv T Kal ypa^eu/, ical 

mological, literal sense, omitting to oiry /n^, o-Ktirreov.p. 258 D. rts 6 rp6- 

mological, literal sense, omitting to 
notice the collateral association which 


First let us ask "When an orator addresses himself to a 
listening crowd upon the common themes Good 
about and Evil, Just and Unjust is it necessary that he 

thear?of should know what is really and truly good and evil, 
o7s fci eakTn U J ust an( * un J ust ^ ^ost rhetorical teachers affirm, 
weif Can ft that it is enough if he knows what the audience or 
uponsystem * ne P e pl e generally believe to be so : and that to 

or principle? that standard he must accommodate himself, if he 
Or does the , , _ 7 

successful wishes to persuade. l 

ceedoniy C " He may persuade the people under these circum- 

by unsyste- stances (replies Sokrates), but if he does so, it will be 

knack? to their misfortune and to his own. He ought to 

Theory of know the real truth not merely what the public 

Sokrates whom he addresses believe to be the truth respect- 
That all art . . , , . , , , ., mi r . 
of persua- ing just and unjust, good and evil, &c. There can be 

be founded no g enu i ne ar ^ of speaking, which is not founded 
upon a upon knowledge of the truth, and upon adequate phi- 

of the truth, losophical comprehension of the subject-matter. 2 The 
daUons S of rhetorical teachers take too narrow a view of rhetoric, 
resemblance when they confine it to public harangues addressed 
to the assembly or to the Dikastery. Rhetoric em- 
braces all guidance of the mind through words, whether in public 
harangue or private conversation, on matters important or trivial. 
Whether it be a controversy between two litigants in a Dikastery, 
causing the Dikasts to regard the same matters now as being just 
and good, presently as being unjust and evil : or between two 
dialecticians like Zeno, who could make his hearers view the 
same subjects as being both like and unlike both one and many 
both in motion and at rest : in either case the art (if there be 
any art) and its principles are the same. You ought to assimi- 
late every thing to every thing, in all cases where assimilation is 
possible : if your adversary assimilates in like manner, concealing 
the process from his hearers, you must convict and expose his 
proceedings. Now the possibility or facility of deception in this 
way will depend upon th e extent of likeness between things. If 
there be much real likeness, deception is easy, and one of them 
may easily be passed off as the other : if there be little likeness, 

l Plato, Phsedras, p. 260 A. 2 Plato, Phsedrus, pp. 260-261. 


deception will be difficult. An extensive acquaintance with 
the real resemblances of things, or in other words with truth, 
constitutes the necessary basis on which all oratorical art must 
proceed. 1 

Sokrates then compares the oration of Lysias with his own 

two orations (the first depreciating, the second extol- _ 

,. -n v . i . ;; . , /. Comparison 

ling, Eros) in the point of view ol art ; to see how far made by 

they are artistically constructed. Among the matters twecmthe* 1 " 
of discourse, there are some on which all men are discourse of 

T -i i . i .1 f ,1 i Lysias and 

agreed, and on which therefore the speaker may his own. 
assume established unanimity in his audience : there forentlyun- 
are others on which great dissension and discord pre- derstood : 

i A .1 i A . /^i o T \ Sokrates de- 

vail. Among the latter (the topics of dissension), fined what 
questions about just and unjust, good and evil, stand it e : 1 j^?a3 by 
foremost : 2 it is upon these that deception is most did not 
easy, and rhetorical skill most efficacious. Accord- 
ingly, an orator should begin by understanding to which of these 
two categories the topic which he handles belongs : If it belongs 
to the second category (those liable to dissension) he ought, at 
the outset, to define what he himself means by it, and what he 
intends the audience to understand. Now Eros is a topic on 
which great dissension prevails. It ought therefore to have been 
defined at the commencement of the discourse. This Sokrates in 
his discourse has done : but Lysias has omitted to do it, and has 
assumed Eros to be obviously and unanimously apprehended by 
every one. Besides, the successive points in the discourse of 
Lysias do not hang together by any thread of necessary connec- 
tion, as they ought to do, if the discourse were put together ac- 
cording to rule. 8 

Farthermore, in the two discourses of Sokrates, not merely was 
the process of logical definition exemplified in the case i^gjcai 
of Eros but also the process of logical division^ in the processes- 
case of Madness or Irrationality. This last extensive and DM? 
genus was divided first into two species Madness, ofth7m th 
from human distemper Madness, from divine inspi- exemplified 
ration, carrying a man out of the customary ortho- discourses 
doxy. 4 Next, this last species was again divided into of Sokra tes. 

* Plato, Phsedrus, p. 262. 3 Plato, Phsedras, pp. 263-265. 

2 Plato, Phsedrua, p. 263 B. Com- 4pi a to, Phsedrus, p. 265 A. virfc 
pare Plato, Alkibiad. 1. p. 109. 0ias jaAAayijs T<OV eiwt'OTwv 


four branches or sub-species, according to the God from whom 
the inspiration proceeded, and according to the character of the 
inspiration the prophetic, emanating from Apollo the ritual 
or mystic, from Dionysus the poetic, from the Muses the 
amatory, from Eros and Aphrodite. 1 Now both these processes, 
definition and division, are familiar to the true dialectician or 
philosopher : but they are not less essential in rhetoric also, if 
the process is performed with genuine art. The speaker ought 
to embrace in his view many particular cases, to gather together 
what is common to all, and to combine them into one generic 
concept, which is to be embodied in words as the definition. He 
ought also to perform the counter-process : to divide the genus 
not into parts arbitrary and incoherent (like a bad cook cutting 
up an animal without regard to the joints) but into legitimate 
species ; 2 each founded on some positive and assignable charac- 
teristic. " It is these divisions and combinations (says Sokrates) 
to which I am devotedly attached, in order that I may become 
competent for thought and discourse : and if there be any one 
else whom I consider capable of thus contemplating the One arid 
the Many as they stand in nature I follow in the footsteps of 
that man as in those of a God. I call such a man, rightly or 
wrongly, a Dialectician ." 

This is Dialectic (replies Phsedrus) ; but it is not Rhetoric, as 
Thrasymachus and other professors teach the art. 

What else is there worth having (says Sokrates), which these 

View of professors teach 1 The order and distribution of a 

Sokrates \. 

That there discourse : first, the exordium, then recital, proof, 

Artof e Rhe- second proof, refutation, recapitulation at the close : 

toric except advice how to introduce maxims or similes : receipts 
what is al- . \ 

ready com- tor moving the anger or compassion of the dikasts. 

1 Plato, Pheedrus, p. 265. Dividi enim illam, non concidi, utile 

2 Plato, Phaedrus, pp. 265-266. 265 est." 

D : ets fiiaaf re iSeav <rvvoptvTa ayeiv TO. 8 Plato, Phaedrus, p. 266 B. Tovruty 

n-oAAaxn 5ie<nrap(uteVa, IV'^KOLCTTOV 6pt6- STJ eywye auros re *paerTfr, a> $atpe, rS>v 

/JLCVOS 6ifjA.ov irotfl irep! oC av ael fitSaoxeii/ Siatpe'crewv ical cruva.ywytoi', lv' olds Te Si 

We'Afl. 265 E : rb 7ra\iv Kar* ctfiTj Bvvaur- Ae'yetv re /ecu (frpovelv ko.v re rtv' aXXov 

Oat TCfjLvetv /car' apdpa, $ Tre'^vce, ical ftn ^y^7cnoju,at Svvarov els %v KOL iirl iroAAa 

iiriXeipeiv Karctyvvvcu, fiepos f*ij8eV, KOKOV uf^vicbq bp$v t TOVTOV Suaw* Ka.r6iri.cr09 

aa-yetpov rp<Sir^ \p^^vov. /mer' IYVIOV <rre 6eoto. ical /uteVrot Kal 

Seneca, Epist. 89, p. 395, ed. Gronov. roi)s twantvov* avrb &p$v el /*v bpO>$ 

' Faciam ergo quod exigis, et philoso- y ^ Trpoo-ayopevw, 0cbs olSe xaAa> e olv 

phiam in paries, non in frusta, mvidam, ft^xP 4 Tow6 5 


Such, teaching doubtless enables a speaker to produce prised in 
considerable effect upon popular assemblies : 1 but it The rhetori- 
is not the art of rhetoric. It is an assemblage of pre- f^l!^ 11 * 118 

i. 1.1 i/ empty 

limmary accomplishments, necessary before a man can and useless, 
acquire the art : but it is not the art itself. You must know 
when, how far, in what cases, and towards what persons, to 
employ these accomplishments : 2 otherwise you have not learnt 
the art of rhetoric. You may just as well consider yourself a 
physician because you know how to bring about vomit and 
purging or a musician, because you know how to wind up or 
unwind the chords of your lyre. These teachers mistake the 
preliminaries or antecedents of the art, for the art itself. It is in 
the right, measured, seasonable, combination and application of 
these preliminaries, in different doses adapted to each special 
matter and audience that the art of rhetoric consists. And this 
is precisely the thing which the teacher does not teach, but 
supposes the learner to acquire for himself. 8 

The true art of rhetoric (continues Sokrates) embraces a larger 
range than these teachers imagine. It deals with W hatthe 
mind, as the medical researches of Hippokrates deal Art of Rhe- 
with body as a generic total with all its species and t^lfe-lSa- 
varieties, and as essentially relative to the totality of lo & of Hip- 
external circumstances. First, Hippokrates investi- an/the* 
gates how far the body is, in every particular man, medicalArt - 
simple, homogeneous, uniform : and how far it is complex, 
heterogeneous, multiform, in the diversity of individuals. If it 
be one and the same, or in so far as it is one and the same, he 
examines what are its properties in relation to each particular 
substance acting upon it or acted upon by it. In so far as it is 
multiform and various, he examines and compares each of the 
different varieties, in the same manner, to ascertain its properties 
in relation to every substance. 4 It is in this way that Hippo- 

- -- -0. Phsedrus, pp. 267-268. 8& IO-TIV, ot ir<?pi j3ovA>}<r(fy0a tlvai 

f * PlatO, PUsearus, p. 268 B. Jpecr0at avrol revvticol xal aXXoc Svvarol irately/ 
et wpoflrewioraTat^ ical ovartpas 8ei ai en-ira o, lai/ /mei/ an-Aovi/ ^, truotrttv 


k rates discovers the nature or essence of the human body, dis- 
tinguishing its varieties, and bringing the medical art to bear 
upon each, according to its different properties. This is the only 
scientific or artistic way of proceeding. 

Now the true rhetor ought to deal with the human mind in 

. _. like manner. His task is to work persuasion in the 
Art of Ehe- .-,,.. , /. -, . TT i 

torie ought minds of certain men by means of discourse. He has 

systematic a therefore, first, to ascertain how far all mind is one 

classiflca- an <j the same, and what are the affections belonging 

inimis with to it universally in relation to other things : next, to 

varieties, distinguish the different varieties of minds, together 

and of dis- with the properties, susceptibilities, and active apti- 

courseswith , n . i /i i_ T . . i V, .-, 

all their tudes, of each : carrying the subdivision down until 

Sie^Rhetor ne comcs to a variety no longer admitting division. 1 
must know He must then proceed to distinguish the different 
tSTone'to y varieties of discourse, noting the effects which each is 
suftab? 6 to calculated to produce or to hinder, and the different 
each parti- ways in which it is likely to impress different minds. 2 
cuarcase. g uc ] 1 QJ^ suc } 1 men are persuadable by such and 
such discourses or the contrary. Having framed these two 
general classifications, the rhetor must on each particular occasion 
acquire a rapid tact in discerning to which class of minds the 
persons whom he is about to address belong : and therefore what 
class of discourses will be likely to operate on them persuasively.* 
He must farther know those subordinate artifices of speech on 
which the professors insist ; and he must also be aware of the 
proper season and limit within which each can be safely em- 
ployed. 4 

* Plato, Phwdrus, p. 277 B. opttra- 3 Plato, Phsedrus, p. 271 D. 5t^> 

fjLev6s re ira\tv KO.T' flSij ju,e'xpt rov O.T/UITJ- ravra tKai>a>s voijcrai'Ta, fiera. ravra, 

rov rmi/eiv TrtcrT7}0|). deu/uufoi/ avra ci> rats irpageaiv ovro. re 

2 Plato, Phsedrus, ^. 271 A. Kow- ai TrparTo^eva, o^eaxj 

rov. 7ra<rg oucptjSetqi ypai/sec. re KOU rroiTjcret Svi/aadai 3rraxoA.ov0eii/, &C. 
^VXTJI> tfieiv, ir6repov ev Kal ojxotov we'^u- 4 pi ftto phflprlrim n 972 A 

*ei> >j icara <rwfjiaTO? /aop^f rroAvetSes* *. -g V -*;"* ulua P- ^'^ * 
ToOro yap fafjiev 4>v<riv elvat SCIKVVVO.I. TJOTJ ^iravr fX^^ irp o ^j^ 

Acvrepov 8^ ye, ory TI Troteti/ ij * ai pov? T v 

Wa T P /r?v>T5rstr^V-o f r* Arfyjjr Jj?S^5 f 

re <eat ^vx>>S yvij jeat ra TOWTWV irafc}- evK aioiav r 

uara, otert ras ainas, irpoorap/uioTTtoi/ v 

MeeivoAoyi'as jcal tv(u<rea)9, exaaTtai' re 
fta^Tj A(5ya>i/, TOUTWI' T J| v 
re ic a I a K a t p i a f 
xaAuf re xai rcAeoas 



Nothing less than this assemblage of acquirements (says So- 
krates) will suffice to constitute a real artist, either in 
speaking or writing. Arduous and fatiguing indeed 
the acquisition is : but there is no easier road. And become pos- 
those who tell us that the rhetor need not know what trutl?, 

is really true, but only what his audience will believe 

to be true must be reminded that this belief, on the auditors be- 

part of the audience, arises from the likeness of that truth! 50 He 

which they believe, to the real truth. Accordingly, 
he who knows the real truth will be cleverest in sug- warded for 
gesting apparent or quasi-truth adapted to their this labour - 
feelings. If a man is bent on becoming an artist in rhetoric, he 
must go through the process here marked out : yet undoubtedly 
the process is so laborious, that rhetoric, when he has acquired 
it, is no adequate reward. "We ought to learn how to speak and 
act in a way agreeable to the Gods, and this is worth all the 
trouble necessary for acquiring it. But the power of speaking 
agreeably and effectively to men, is not of sufficient moment to 
justify the expenditure of so much time and labour. 1 

We have now determined what goes to constitute genuine art, 
in speaking or in writing. But how far is writing, Q Ues ti n 
even when art is applied to it, capable of producing about Writ- 
real and permanent effect? or indeed of having art Art, for the 
applied to it at all ? Sokrates answers himself Only fnstraction, 
to a small degree. Writing will impart amusement i . t t c ? /n 4? 
and satisfaction for the moment : it will remind the sons^hy. 
reader of something which he knew before, if he ma^remind 
really did know. But in respect to any thing which thereaderof 
he did not know before, it will neither teach nor already 6 
persuade him : it may produce in him an impression knows - 
or fancy that he is wiser than he was before, but such impression 
is illusory, and at best only transient. Writing is like painting 
one and the same to all readers, whether young or old, well or 
ill informed. It cannot adapt itself to the different state of mind 
of different persons, as we have declared that every finished 
speaker ought to do. It cannot answer questions, supply de- 
ficiencies, reply to objections, ; rectify misunderstanding. It is 

Plato, Phcedrus, pp. 278-274. 



defenceless against all assailants. It supersedes and enfeebles 
the memory, implanting only a false persuasion of knowledge 
without the reality. 1 

Any writer therefore, in prose or verse Homer, Solon, or 
Neither Lysias who imagines that he can by a ready-made 
wonls^nor composition, however carefully turned, 2 if simply heard 
continuous or read without cross-examination or oral comment, pro- 
produce any duce any serious and permanent effect in persuading 
effect^ or teacn i n S> beyond a temporary gratification falls 
teaching. into a disgraceful error. If he intends to accomplish 
and cross- any thing serious, he must be competent to originate 

spoken discourse more effective than the written, 
necessary. The written word is but a mere phantom or ghost of 
the spoken word : which latter is the only legitimate offspring of 
the teacher, springing fresh and living out of his mind, and 
engraving itself profoundly on the mind of the hearer. 3 The 
speaker must know, with discriminative comprehension, and in 
logical subdivision, both the matter on which he discourses, and 
the minds of the particular hearers to whom he addresses him- 
self. He will thus be able to adapt the order, the distribution, 
the manner of presenting his subject, to the apprehension of the 
particular hearers and the exigencies of the particular moment. 
He will submit to cross-examination, 4 remove difficulties, and 
furnish all additional explanations which the case requires. By 
this process he will not indeed produce that immediate, though 
flashy and evanescent, impression of suddenly acquired knowledge, 
which arises from the perusal of what is written. He will sow 
seed which for a long time appears buried under ground ; but 
which, after such interval, springs up and ripens into complete 

1 Plato, Phaedrus, p. 276 D-E. rait' r< TpoVej) re yiyverai, Kal 6Veu dju,ct'i/wj/ 

TOJ> St Kal oi Adyot, (ot yeypa/uju,ei/oi) Kal SvvartoTepos ; TOVTOV 0veTat; . . . ^ 

6oous (JLfV ov oi? TI (fapovovvTas avTOV? "Os fiT' ^TTI tTTi/j /u.|js ypa-^terat, &v rff TOV 

,i/, tav S^jrt COT) TWI> Xcyo/meVwi/ j3ov- /'flai'OVTOS J>VXT?, ^SvvaTOs /mev djuvvat 

irapd rots ^Traiovo-tv, ws 6' avrws Trap' ot? /uteVos eifiwAoi/ av rt Aeyotro $tKO.t<as, <fcc. 

ov&ev irpoo"f)Kft t Kal OVK ^TrtaraTai \eyeiv 278 A. 

ots Set ye <eal 1*17. 4 Plato, Pheedrus, p. 278 C. t fnev 

2 Plato, Pheedrua, pp. 277-278. ws oi etfiws jf ToATj0e9 ex" . o^ve'^n* 6 javra 
pa\fitf8ov(jLtvot.(\6yoL)avev avaxpia-eios Kal (TO. orvyypa/Lt/naTa) Kal x atv &or)0elv, tly 
5i8axn? iret^ovs eVeKa iXe'x^Tjaav, &C. eAevxcf twv irepl 3>v eypa^re, itai \eyvv 

3 Plato, Phsedrus, p. 276 A. a\\ov avrbs Svvarbs ra yeypaweva. ^avAa dwo- 
opw/u,ev \6yov TOVTOV aSe\(^bv yvya'iov fiet^ac &C. 


and lasting fruit. 1 By repeated dialectic debate, he will both 
familiarise to his own mind and propagate in his fellow-dialogists, 
full knowledge ; together with all the manifold reasonings bear- 
ing on the subject, and with the power also of turning it on 
many different sides, of repelling objections and clearing up 
obscurities. It is not from writing, but from dialectic debate, 
artistically diversified and adequately prolonged, that full and 
deep teaching proceeds ; prolific in its own nature, communicable 
indefinitely from every new disciple to others, and forming a 
source of intelligence and happiness to all. 2 

This blending of philosophy with rhetoric, which pervades the 
criticisms on Lysias in the Phajdrus, is farther illustrated by the 
praise bestowed upon Isokrates in contrast with Lysias. Iso- 
krates occupied that which Plato in Eutliydemus calls "the 
border country between philosophy and politics ". Many critics 
declare (and I think with probable reason 3 ) that Isokrates is the 
person intended (without being named) in the passage just cited 
from the Eutliydemus. In the Phsedrus, Isokrates is described 
-as the intimate friend of Sokrates, still young ; and is pro- 
nounced already superior in every way to Lysias likely to 
become superior in future to all the rhetors that have ever 
flourished and destined probably to arrive even at the divine 
mysteries of philosophy. 4 

When we consider that the Phaedrus was pretty sure to bring 
upon Plato a good deal of enmity since it attacked, by name, 
both Lysias, a resident at Athens of great influence and ability, 
and several other contemporary rhetors more or less celebrated _ 
we can understand how Plato became disposed to lighten this 
amount of enmity by a compliment paid to Isokrates. This 
latter rhetor, a few years older than Plato, was the son of opulent 
parents at Athens, and received a good education ; but when his 
family became impoverished by the disasters at the close of the 
Peloponnesian war, he established himself as a teacher of rhetoric 
at Chios : after some time, however, he returned to Athens, and 
followed the same profession there. He engaged himself also, 
like Lysias, in composing discourses for pleaders before the 

2 S^' g^rus, P- 2 A v f s ** above, vol. ii. ch. xxi. p. 227. 

2 Plato, Phsedrus, pp. 276-277, 4 piato, Phaedrus, p. 279 A. 


dikastery l and for speakers in the assembly ; by which practice 
he acquired both fortune and reputation. Later in life, he relin- 
quished these harangues destined for real persons on real occa- 
sions, and confined himself to the composition of discourses 
(intended, not for contentious debate, but for the pleasure and 
instruction of hearers) on general questions social, political,. 
and philosophical : at the same time receiving numerous pupils 
from different cities of Greece. Through such change, he came 
into a sort of middle position between the rhetoric of Lysias 
and the dialectic of Plato : insomuch that the latter, at the time 
when he composed the Phaedrus, had satisfaction in contrasting 
him favourably with Lysias, and in prophesying that he would 
make yet greater progress towards philosophy. But at the time 
when Plato composed the Euthydemus, his feeling was different. 9 
In the Phaedrus, Isokrates is compared with Lysias and other 
rhetors, and in that comparison Plato presents him as greatly 
superior : in the Euthydemus, he is compared with philosophers 
as well as with rhetors, and is even announced as disparaging 
philosophy generally : Plato then declares him to be a presump- 
tuous half-bred, and extols against him even the very philoso- 
pher whom he. himself had just been caricaturing. To apply a 
Platonic simile, the most beautiful ape is ugly compared with 
man the most beautiful man is an ape compared with the 
Gods : 3 the same intermediate position between rhetoric and 
philosophy is assigned by Plato to Isokrates. 

From the pen of Isokrates also, we find various passages 
apparently directed against the viri Socratici including Plato 

i Dion. Hal. De Isocrate Judicium, tively, and with reference to a certain- 

p. 676. fico>Mif wain; iro\\a<; SiKaviniav period of his life. But it is only to be 

\dywi/ 7repi$'po-0at $i}<rti/ vwb TWI> /3i/3- received subject to much reserve and 

XtoirwXwi/ 'Api<TTOTe\Y)s, Ac. qualification. Even out of the twenty 

Plutarch, Vit. x Oratt pp. 837-838. one orations of Isokrates which we 

The Athenian Polykrates had been possess, the last five are composed to 

forced, by loss of property, to quit be spoken by pleaders before the 

Athens and undertake the work of a dikastery. They are such discourses 

Sophist in Cyprus. Isokrates expresses as the logographers, Lysias among the 

much sympathy for him : it was a rest, were called upon to furnish, and 

misfortune like what had happened to paid for furnishing. 
himself (Orat. xi. Basins 1), Compare 

discussions may be true coin para- 3 Plato, Hipp. Major, p. 289. 


(though without his name) : depreciating, 1 as idle and worthless, 
new political theories, analytical discussions on the principles of 
ethics, and dialectic subtleties . maintaining that the word 
philosophy was erroneously interpreted and defined by many 
contemporaries, in a sense too much withdrawn from practical re- 
sults : and affirming that his own teaching was calculated to impart 
genuine philosophy. During the last half of Plato's life, his 
school and that of Isokrates were the most celebrated among all 
that existed at Athens, There was competition between them, 
gradually kindling into rivalry. Such rivalry became vehement 
during the last ten years of Plato's life, when his scholar Ari- 
stotle, then an aspiring young man of twenty-five, proclaimed a 
very contemptuous opinion of Isokrates, and commenced a new 
school of rhetoric in opposition to him. 2 Kephisod6rus, a pupil 
of Isokrates, retaliated ; publishing against Aristotle, as well as 
against Plato, an acrimonious work which was still read some 
centuries afterwards. Theopompus, another eminent pupil of 
Isokrates, commented unfavourably upon Plato in his writings : 
and other writers who did the same may probably have belonged 
to the Isokratean school. 8 

This is the true philosopher (continues Sokrates) the man 
who alone is competent to teach truth about the just, good, 

1 Isokrates, Orat. x. 1 (Hel. Enc.) ; plaints about unfriendly and bitter 
Orat. v. (Philipp.) 12 ; Or. xiii. (So- criticism refer to the Platonic School 
phist.) 9-24 ; Orat. xv. (Permut.) sect, of that day, Aristotle being one of its 
285-290. <J>cAoero$i'ai/ n*v ofiv OVK ot/u,ai members. See sections 48-00-276, and 
Selv irpocrayopevew TTJV /m^Sei/ v TU> seq. He certainly means the Sokratic 
irapovri fjt/qre upos TO \eyetv junjre rrpbs men, and Plato as the most celebrated 

rb rrpdrreiv o></>eAov<rai/ TTJV itaAov/u.evTjt/ of them, when he talks of 01 irepl ray 
vno rwotv 4>tA.oo*o<ptaf OVK el/at, <T)/JU, epwnjcret? <cai &7ro/cpi<reiv, oO? dvTiAo- 
&C. -yiKOus Ka\ovarw ot Trepl ray epifia? 

2 Cicero, De Oratore, iii. 85, 141 ; o-irov86ovrcs those who are powerful 
Orator. 19, 62 ; Numenius, ap. Euseb. in contentious dialectic, ana at the 
Prsep. Evang. xiv. 6, 9. See, same time cultivate geometry and 
Aristotelia, i. p. 63 sec^., ii. p. 44 seq. astronomy, which others call doA<rxta 

Schroeder's Qusestiones Isocratese and /uugpoAoyt'a (280) those who ex- 
{Utrecht, 1859), and Spengel's work, horted hearers to virtue about which 
Isokrates und Plato, are instructive in others knew nothing, and about which 
regard to these two contemporary hum- they themselves were in dispute, 
naries of the intellectual world at When he complains of the TT*PITTO- 
Athens. But, unfortunately, we can \6ytat of the ancient Sophists. Em- 
make out few ascertainable facts, pedokles, Ion, Parmenides, Melifuius, 
When I read the Oration De Permut. , <fec. , we cannot but suppose that he had 
Or. xv. (composed by Isokrates about in his mind the Timaeus of Plato also, 
fifteen years before his own death, and though he avoids mention of the 
about ti^e years before the death of name. 

Plato, near 353 B.C.), I am impressed * Atheneeua, iii. p. 122, ii. 60; Dionys, 

with the belief that many of his com- Hal. Epistol. ad Cn. Pomp. p. 757. 




teach, if 

can do this, 

than I a re ' 

Su?and C " an( * honourable - 1 He who merely writes, must 
Cross- not delude himself with the belief that upon these 

important topics his composition can impart any clear 
or lasting instruction. To mistake fancy for reality 
hereupon, is equally disgraceful, whether the mistake 
be made by few or by many persons. If indeed the 
writer can explain to others orally the matters written 
if he can answer all questions, solve difficulties, 
and supply the deficiences, of each several reader in that case 
he is something far more and better than a writer, and ought to 
be called a philosopher. But if he can do no more than write, 
he is no philosopher : he is only a poet, or nomographer, or 
logographer. 2 

In this latter class stands Lysias. I expect (concludes So- 
krates) something better from Isokrates, who gives 
t logo- promise of aspiring one day to genuine philosophy. 3 
grapher : 



romises to 
ecome a 


I have already observed that I dissent from the 
hypothesis of Schleiermacher, Ast, and others, who 
regard the Phsedrus either as positively the earliest, 
or a t least among the earliest, of the Platonic dia- 
logues, composed several years before the death of 
I agree with Hermann, Stallbaum, and those other 
critics, who refer it to a much later period of Plato's life : though 
I see no sufficient evidence to determine more exactly either its 
date or its place in the chronological series of dialogues. The 
views opened in the second half of the dialogue, on the theory of 
rhetoric and on the efficacy of written compositions as a means 
of instruction, are very interesting and remarkable. 

The written discourse of Lysias (presented to us as one greatly 
criticism admired at the time by his friends, Phsedrus among 
Flato on them) is contrasted first with a pleading on the same 
the three subject (though not directed towards the attainment 
of ^ ne same end ) b y Sokrates (supposed to be irnpro- 

His theoy 

i Plato, Phcedrus, p. 277 D-E. Plato speaks of Isokrates in the Phae- 

o * Ti, ^ o-7Q o-ra drus. see what I have already observed 

a Plato, Phdrus, pp. 278-279. upon * the E uthydemus, vol. ii. ch. xxL 

8 Respecting the manner in which pp. 227*229. 


vised on the occasion) ; next with a second pleading of Rhetoric 
of Sokrates directly opposed to the former, and in- 
tended as a recantation. These three discourses are 
criticised from the rhetorical point of view, 1 and are 
made the handle for introducing to us a theory of rhetoric. 
The second discourse of Sokrates, far from being Sokratic in 
tenor, is the most exuberant effusion of mingled philosophy, 
poetry, and mystic theology, that ever emanated from Plato. 

The theory of rhetoric too is far more Platonic than Sokratic. 
The peculiar vein of Sokrates is that of confessed His theory 
ignorance, ardour in enquiry, and testing cross-exami- postulates, 
nation of all who answer his questions. But in the Rhetor, 
Phsedrua we find Plato (under the name of Sokrates) ^ n r 

assuming, as the basis of his theory, that an expositor assured 
shall be found who knows what is really and truly that all the 
just and unjust, good arid evil, honourable and dis- jjve been 
honourable distinct from, and independent of, the already 
established beliefs on these subjects, traditional among 
his neighbours and fellow-citizens: 2 assuming (to express the 
same thing in other words) that all the doubts and difficulties, 
suggested by the Sokratic cross-examination, have been already 
considered, elucidated, and removed. 

The expositor, master of such perfect knowledge, must farther 
be master (so Plato tells us) of the arts of logical The Expo- 
definition and division : that is, he must be able to sitor, with 

,1 j c A i , knowledge 

gather up many separate fragmentary particulars into and logical 

one general notion, clearly identified and embodied in f^aches' 
a definition : and he must be farther able to subdivide minds un- 
such a general notion into its constituent specific and willing 
notions, each marked by some distinct characteristic * learn - 
feature. 3 This is the only way to follow out truth in a manner 
clear and consistent with itself : and truth is equally honourable 
in matters small or great. 4 
Thus far we are in dialectic : logical exposition proceeding by 

i Plato, Phsedrus, p. 235 A. contemptible deserves to be sought out 

a Plato, Phaedrus, pp. 259 E, 260 E, and proved as much as upon matters 

262 B. great and a u blime, is a doctrine affirmed 

s Plato, Phsedrus, p. 266. in theSopbistes, Politikus, Parmenides : 

4 Plato, Phsedrus, p. 261 A. Sophist, pp. 218 E, 227 A ; Politik. 266 

That truth upon matters small and D ; Parmenid. 130 E. 


way of classifying and declassifying : in which it is assumed that 
the expositor will find minds unoccupied and unprejudiced, 
ready to welcome the truth when he lays it before them. But 
there are many topics on which men's minds are, in the common 
and natural course of things, both pre-occupied and dissentient 
with each other. This is especially the case with Justice, Good- 
ness, the Honourable, &C. 1 It is one of the first requisites for 
the expositor to be able to discriminate this class of topics, where 
error and discordance grow up naturally among those whom he 
addresses. It is here that men are liable to be deceived, and 
require to be undeceived contradict each other, and argue on 
opposite sides : such disputes belong to the province of Rhe- 

The Rhetor is one who does not teach (according to the logical 
The Rhetor P rocess previously described), but persuades ; guiding 

does not the mind by discourse to or from various opinions or 
teach, but ,. , XT . .. . . , , , / . , 

persuades sentiments. 2 Now if this is to be done by art and 

wlthininds me ^hodically that is, upon principle or system expli- 
pre-occu- cable and defensible it pre-supposes (according to 
" Plato) a knowledge of truth, and can only be per- 
formed by the logical expositor. For when men are 
error to deceived, it is only because they mistake what is like 
m ' truth for truth itself : when they are undeceived, it is 

because they are made to perceive that what they believe to be 
truth is only an apparent likeness thereof. Such resemblances 
are strong or faint, differing by many gradations. Now no one 
can detect, or bring into account, or compare, these shades of 
resemblance, except he who knows the truth to which they all 
ultimately refer. It is through the slight differences that decep- 
tion is operated. To deceive a man, you must carry him gradu- 
ally away from the truth by transitional stages, each resembling 
that which immediately precedes, though the last in the series 
will hardly at all resemble the first : to undeceive him (or to 
avoid being deceived yourself), you must conduct him back by 
the counter-process from error to truth, by a series of transitional 
resemblances tending in that direction. You cannot do this like 
an artist (on system and by pre-determination), unless you know 

i Plato, Phsedrus, p. 263 A. x 

3 Plato, Phaedrus, p. 261 A. TJ prjropiK^ rix^l ^vxa-yoyCa rts Sia \oyaiv, &C. 


what the truth is. 1 By any one who -does not know, the process 
will be performed without art, or at haphazard. 

The Rhetor being assumed as already knowing the truth if 
he wishes to make persuasion an art, must proceed in He rausfc 
the following manner : He must distribute the mul- then cias- 
tiplicity of individual minds into distinct classes, each minds to be 

marked by its characteristic features of differences, 
emotional and intellectual. He must also distribute means of 
the manifold modes of discourse into distinct classes, or varieties 
each marked in like manner. Each of these modes Hemust 6 * 
of discourse is well adapted to persuade some classes know how 
of mind badly adapted to persuade other classes : one tothe e 
for such adaptation or non-adaptation there exists a ^g r ^ 
rational necessity, 2 which the Rhetor must examine ticular 
and ascertain, informing himself which modes of dis- case " 
course are adapted to each different class of mind. Having 
mastered this general question, he must, whenever he is about 
to speak, be able to distinguish, by rapid perception, 8 to which 
class of minds the hearer or hearers whom he is addressing 
belong : and accordingly, which mode of discourse is adapted to 
their particular case. Moreover, he must also seize, in the case 
before him, the seasonable moment and the appropriate limit, 
for the use of each mode of discourse. Unless the Rhetor is 
capable of fulfilling all these exigencies, without failing in any 
one point, his Rhetoric is not entitled to be called an Art. He 
requires, in order to be an artist in persuading the mind, as great 
an assemblage of varied capacities as Hippokrates declares to be 
necessary for a physician, the artist for curing or preserving the 
body. 4 

The total, thus summed up by Plato, of what is necessary to 
constitute an Art of Rhetoric, is striking and coinpre- 

hensive. It is indeed an iddal, not merely unattain- /<ww of the 
able by reason of its magnitude, but also including Art in- 

1 Plato, Phsedrus, pp. 262 A-D, 273 D. 3 Plato, Phsedrus, p. 271 D-E. fiet 

2 Plato, Phaedrus, pp. 270 B, 271 &j ravra iKavuis vojo-avTa., pera TO.VTO. 
A-D. Tpirov fie firj fitara^a/u-ei/o? TO. ^ew/ttefoi/ avra ei/ rats 7rpae<rii/ oi/ra re 
Aoycui/ re /cat ^yx^ s y* 10 ?* * at T * T V' Kai - vpa.rT6fjLeva, 6^ew5 T^ aiffOrjcrei 
TWV Tra07)u.aTa, fiieiat TO,? airias, rrpo<rap- 5vvao*dat eTraKoA-Ovdetf, ) fxr)5e 
/A<JTT>I> eKa<7Toi/ e^aorry, al SitSaovcwf eifieVat TTW wXeo*' avrwi/ S)V rore ^<ove 
ota oJtra. v</>' otwv A<Jywi/ 5t* T)^ alriav e^ X6ytv vv<av. 

ii/dy*C77S ^ Hiev 7ret'0erat, ^ 8e Airet9ct. * Plato, PhsedtUS, p. 270 C. 


volves in impracticable conditions. He begins by postulating 
a perfectly wise man, who knows all truth on the 
most important social subjects ; on which his country- 
m en hold erroneous beliefs, just as sincerely as tie 
holds his true beliefs. But Plato has already told us, 
to by S the ed * n ^ e Gorgias, that such a person will not be listened 
public. to : that in order to address auditors with effect, the 
rhetor must be in genuine harmony of belief and character with 
them, not dissenting from them either for the better or the 
worse : nay, that the true philosopher (so we read in one of the 
most impressive portions of the Republic) not only has no chance 
of guiding the public mind, but incurs public obloquy, and may 
think himself fortunate if he escapes persecution. 1 The dissenter 
will never be allowed to be the guide of a body of orthodox 
believers ; and is even likely enough, unless he be prudent, to 
become their victim. He may be permitted to lecture or discuss, 
in the gardens of the Academy, with a few chosen friends, and to 
write eloquent dialogues : but if he embodies his views in 
motions before the public assembly, he will find only strenuous 
opposition, or something worse. This view, which is powerfully 
set forth by Sokrates both in the Gorgias and Republic, is 
founded on a just appreciation of human societies : and it is 
moreover the basis of the Sokratic procedure That the first step 
to be taken is to disabuse men's minds of their false persuasion 
of knowledge to make them conscious of ignorance and thus 
to open their minds for the reception of truth. But if this be 
the fact, we must set aside as impracticable the postulate advanced 
by Sokrates here in the Phaedrus of a perfectly wise man as the 
employer of rhetorical artifices. Moreover I do not agree with 
what Sokrates is here made to lay down as the philosophy of 
Error : that it derives its power of misleading from resemblance 
to truth. This is the case to a certain extent : but it is very 
incomplete as an account of the generating causes of error. 

But the other portion of Plato's sum total of what is necessary 
The other * an -^ r ^ f Rhetoric, is not open to the same objec- 
Ktonic he t * 0n * * fc * nv l ves no incompatible conditions : and 
we can say nothing against it, except that it requires 

1 Plato, Gorg. p. 513 B, see supra, ch. xxiv. ; Republic, vi. pp. 495-496. 


a breadth and logical command of scientific data, far grand but 
greater than there is the smallest chance of attaining, breadth of 
That Art is an assemblage of processes, directed to a c^fdat^and 
definite end, and prescribed by rules which them- classified 
selves rest upon scientific datawe find first an- Sscourse. 
nounced in the works of Plato. 1 A vast amount of scientific 
research, both inductive and deductive, is here assumed as an 
indispensable foundation and even as a portion of what he 
calls the Art of Rhetoric : first, a science of psychology, complete 
both in its principles and details : next, an exhaustive catalogue 
and classification of the various modes of operative speech, with 
their respective impression upon each different class of minds. 
So prodigious a measure of scientific requirement has never yet 
been filled up : of course, therefore, no one has ever put together 
a body of precepts commensurate with it. Aristotle, following 
partially the large conceptions of his master, has given a compre- 
hensive view of many among the theoretical postulates of Rhe- 
toric ; and has partially enumerated the varieties both of per- 
suadable auditors, and of persuasive means available to the 
speaker for guiding them. Cicero, Dionysius of Halikarnassus, 
Quintilian, have furnished valuable contributions towards this 
last category of data, but not much towards the first : being all 
of them defective in breadth of psychological theory. Nor IIP- 

1 1 repeat the citation from the Phse- Science. The Science receives it, con. 

drus, one of the most striking passages siders it as a phenomenon or effect to 

in Plato p. 271 D. be studied, and having investigated its 

iS \6vov Mi/anus Tvvxai/ei K causes and conditions, sends it back 

vavwvia o3o-a TOV ue'AAoi/Ta pijTopiKOj/ to Art with a theorem of the combina- 

ctfUtt dvavKw i5ai i/w otra etSr) tions of circumstances by which it 

|v I<TTIV oW T 6<ra at Td>a, icai could be produced. Art then examines 

TO al rota- oOw ol pfe Tocot'Se, ot 6* these combinations of circumstances 

rotoiSe viwoKroi TOVTWI/ 5* Sii oirjpr,- and according as any of them are or 

2K ZJCTS TO al Toaa e'J?l are not in human power, pronounces 

JSJ! ro^TLa,. ol pfe o5, rotot'8. the end attainable or not. The onlv one 

faS rS>v roiwoe Xdywi/ 6ta ryvSe TYJV of the premisses, therefore,, which Art 

2?&TSJ rA ESS. riSUfc, oil* rotocSe supplies, is the original major premiss, 

?td rdsl Swwetls, &c. Conip. p. 261 A. wh&h asserts that the attainment of 

The 'relation of Art to Science is the given end is desirable. Science 

thus perspicuously stated by Mr. John thenlends to Art the proposition (ob- 

Stuart MU1, in the concluding chapter tained by a series of inductions or of 

of We System of Logic, Ratfocinative deductions), that the Pf 1 ? " 111 * ? 

and toductive (Book vi. ch. xii. 2 ) : certain actions will attain the end. 

"The relation in which rules of Art From these premisses Art concludes 

stand to doctrines of Science may be that the performance of these actions 

thw characterised. The Art proposes is desirable ; and finding it also practi- 

to itself an end to be attained, defines cable, converts the theorem into a rule 

the end, and hands it over to the or precept." 


Plato himself done anything to work out his conception in detail 
or to provide suitable rules for it. We read it only as an im- 
pressive sketch a grand but unattainable idtfal " qualem 
nequeo monstrare et sentio tantum". 

Indeed it seems that Plato himself regarded it as unattain- 
Plato's ideal a ^ e anc l as n ly worth aiming at for the purpose 
compared ^ pl eas i n g tne Gods, not with any view to practical 
with the benefit, arising from either speech or action among 
teachers mankind. 1 This is a point to be considered, when we 
of S these eSS com P are hi views on Rhetoric with those of Lysias 
teachers for and the other rhetors, whom he here judges unfavour- 
an\Icom- f a ^7 an d even contemptuously. The work of speech 
plishedman, an( j ac tion among mankind, which Plato sets aside 
as unworthy of attention, was the express object of solicitude to 
Lysias, Isokrates, and rhetors generally : that which they prac- 
tised efficaciously themselves, and which they desired to assist, 
cultivate, and improve in others : that which Perikles, in his 
funeral oration preserved by Thucydides, represents as the pride 
of the Athenian people collectively 2 combination of full freedom 
of preliminary contentious debate, with energy in executing the 
resolution which might be ultimately adopted. These rhetors, 
by the example of their composed speeches as well as by their 
teaching, did much to impart to young men the power of ex- 
pressing themselves with fluency and effect before auditors, 
either in the assembly or in the dikastery : as Sokrates here fully 
admits. 8 Towards this purpose it was useful to analyse the con- 
stituent parts of a discourse, and to give an appropriate name to 
each part. Accordingly, all the rhetorical teachers (Quintilian 
included) continued such analysis, though differing more or less 
in their way of performing it, until the extinction of Pagan civi- 
lisation. Young men were taught to learn by heart regular dis- 
courses, 4 to compose the like for themselves to understand 
the difference between such as were well or ill composed and 
to acquire a command of oratorical means for moving or convinc- 
ing the hearer. All this instruction had a practical value : 

i Plato, Phredrus, pp. 273-274. fr 2 Thucyd. ii. 89-40-41. 

ovx eveica rov \eysiv KCU irpdrrew Trpbs 8 Plato, Phredrii-S P- 288 A. 

Av0ptairovs fiei 8<.a.irovcl<r9cu. rbv crufoova, 4 See what is said by Aristotle about 

AAAa rov 9eol<s jreyaptcrpfoa (lev \eyeiv % Topyiov Trpay^areta in the last chapter 

Swao-0ai, &c. (273 E). of De Sophisticis Elenchis. 


though Plato, both here and elsewhere, treats it as worthless. A 
citizen who stood mute and embarrassed, unable to argue a case 
with some propriety before an audience, felt himself helpless and 
defective in one of the characteristic privileges of a Greek and a 
freeman : while one who could perform the process well, acquired 
much esteem and influence. 1 The Platonic Sokrates in the 
Gorgias consoles the speechless men by saying What does this 
signify, provided you are just and virtuous ? Such consolation 
failed to satisfy : as it would fail to satisfy the sick, the lame, or 
the blind. 

The teaching of these rhetors thus contributed to the security, 
dignity, and usefulness of the citizens, by arming TheRhe- 
them for public speech and action. But it was essen- torical 
,.11 ,' t i -, i i T.,1 , teachers 

tially practical, or empirical : it had little system, conceived 

and was founded upon a narrow theory. Upon these narrowly^ 
points Plato in the Phsedrus attacks them. He sets Plato con- 
little value upon the accomplishments arming men wTdeiy.^The 
for speech and action (XCKTIKOV? KOI irpaKriKovs clvcu) anArt are** 
and he will not allow such teaching to be called an not required 
Art. He explains, in opposition to them, what he piaine^fto 
himself conceived the Art of Rhetoric to be, in the a11 learners, 
comprehensive way which I have above described. 

But if the conception of the Art, as entertained by the 
Rhetors, is too narrow that of Plato, on the other hand, is too 

First, it includes the whole basis of science or theory on which 
the Art rests : it is a Philosophy of Rhetoric, expounded by a 
theorist rather than an Art of Rhetoric, taught to learners by a 
master. To teach the observance of certain rules or precepts is 
one thing : to set forth the reasons upon which those rules are 
founded, is another highly important indeed, and proper to be 
known by the teacher ; yet not necessarily communicated, or 
even communicable, to all learners. Quintilian, in his Institutio 
Rhetorica, gives both : an ample theory, as well as an ample 

1 1 have illustrated this point in my greatest service not only in procuring 

History of Greece, by the example of influence to himself, but also in con- 

Xenophon in his command of the ducting the army through its many 

Cyreian army during its retreat. perils and difficulties. 

His democratical education, and his See Aristot. Rhet. i. 1, 8, p. 1865, 

powers of public speaking, were of the b. 1. 


development of rules, of his professional teaching. But he would 
not have thought himself obliged to give this ample theory to 
all learners. With many, he would have been satisfied to make 
them understand the rules, and to exercise them in the ready 
observance thereof. 

Secondly, Plato, in defining the Art of Rhetoric, includes not 
Plato in- only its foundation of science (which, though inti- 
hislxfncep- mate ly connected with it, ought not to be considered 
tion of Art, as a constituent part), but also the application of it to 
particular cases ; which application lies beyond the 
P rov i nce both f science and of art, and cannot be 
This can reduced to any rule. "The Rhetor" (says Plato) 
taught by " must teach his pupils, not merely to observe the 
rule. rules whereby persuasion is operated, but also to 

know the particular persons to whom those rules are to be 
applied on what occasions within what limits at what pecu- 
liar moments, &C. 1 Unless the Rhetor can teach thus much, his 
pretended art is no art at all : all his other teaching is of no 
value." Now this is an amount of exigence which can never be 
realised. Neither art nor science can communicate that which 
Plato here requires. The rules of art, together with many 
different hypothetical applications thereof, may be learnt : -when 
the scientific explanation of the rules is superadded, the learner 
will be assisted farther towards fresh applications : but after 
both these have been learnt, the new cases which will arise can 
never be specially foreseen. The proper way of applying the 
general precepts to each case must be suggested by conjecture 
adapted to the circumstances, under the corrections of past ex- 
perience. 2 It is inconsistent in Plato, after affirming that nothing 

1 Plato, Phaedr. pp. 268 B, 272 A. the best that can be had (p. 463 A-B). 

2 What Longinus says about critical The conception of re'x^ given in the 
skill is applicable^ here also TroAArjs Gorgias is open to the same remark as 
eon Trct'pas TeXevTatov eTriyeVi/rj/uia. Iso- that which we flnd in the Phfledrus. 
krates (De Permut. Or. xv. sect. 290- Plato, in another passage of the Phse- 
312-316) has some good remarks about drus, speaks of the necessity that 
the impossibility of eiri<rnj/u.T7 respecting Averts, eTrio-nj/uwj, and /xeAeVrj, shall con- 
particulars. Plato, in the Gorgias, puts cur to make an accomplished orator 
re'xi/T?, which he states to depend upon This is very true ; and Lysias, Iso- 
reason and foreknowledge, in opposi- krates, and all the other rhetors whom 
tion to iptrvtpta and rpi/Sr?, which he Plato satirises, would have concurred 
considers as dependant on the </>v<ri in it. In his description of re'xni and 
<rroxacrri*cij. But in applying the eTrio-TTj^Tj, and in the estimate which 
knowledge or skill called Art to parti- he gives of all that it comprises, he 
cular cases, the $ucn$ crroxwrtKi) is leaves no outlying ground for / 


deserves the name of art 1 except what is general capable of 
being rationally anticipated and prescribed beforehand then to 
include in art the special treatment required for the multiplicity 
of particular cases ; the analogy of the medical art, which he here 
instructively invokes, would be against him on this point. 

While therefore Plato's view of the science or theory of Rhe- 
toric is far more comprehensive and philosophical Plato's 
than any thing given by the rhetorical teachers he J h JJ^ the 
has not made good his charge against them, that what Rhetorical 
they taught as an art of Rhetoric was useless and mSfmade 8 
illusory. The charge can only be sustained if we grant oufc> 
what appears to have been Plato's own feeling that the social 
and political life of the Athenians was a dirty and corrupt 
business, unworthy of a virtuous man to meddle with. This is 
the argument of Sokrates (in the Gorgias, 2 the other great anti- 
rhetorical dialogue), proclaiming himself to stand alone and 
aloof, an isolated, free-thinking dissenter. As representing his 
sincere conviction, and interpreting Plato's plan of life, this 
argument deserves honourable recognition. But we must re- 
member that Lysias and the rhetorical teachers repudiated such 
a point of view. They aimed at assisting and strengthening 
others to perform their parts, not in speculative debate on philo- 
sophy, but in active citizenship ; and they succeeded in this 
object to a great degree. The rhetorical ability of Lysias per- 
sonally is attested not merely by the superlative encomium on 
him assigned to Phsedrus, 8 but also by his great celebrity by 
the frequent demand for his services as a logographer or com- 
poser of discourses for others by the number of his discourses 
preserved and studied after his death. He, and a fair proportion 
of the other rhetors named in the Phsedrus, performed well the 
useful work which they undertook. 

When Plato selects, out of the very numerous discourses be- 
fore him composed by Lysias, one hardly intended for Plato has 
any real auditors neither deliberative, nor judicial, JgS^, 
nor panegyrical, but an ingenious erotic paradox for a in neglect- ' 

Compare Xenophon, Memor. in. 1, 11 ; tunity neither has been nor can be 

also Isokrates contra Sophistas, 8. 16 ; reduced to art and rule. 

and a good passage of Dionysius Halik. 1 Plato, Gorgias, pp. 464-465. 

De Compos. Verborum, in which that Plato, Gorg. 621 D. 

rhetor remarks that *atpo$ or oppor- 3 Plato, Phaedr. p. 228 A. 


ing his private circle of friends this is no fair specimen of 
works, and the author. Moreover Plato criticises it as if it were 

a philosophical exposition instead of an oratorical 
erotic exer- pleading. He complains that Lysias does not begin 
private his discourse by denning but neither do Demos- 
circle. thenes and other great orators proceed in that manner. 

He affirms that there is no organic structure, or necessary 
sequence, in the discourse, and that the sentences of it might 
be read in an inverted order : 1 and this remark is to a certain 
extent well-founded. In respect to the skilful marshalling of 
the different parts of a discourse, so as to give best effect to the 
whole, Dionysius of Halikarnassus 2 declares Lysias to be inferior 
to some other orators while ascribing to him marked oratorical 
superiority on various other points. Yet Plato, in specifying his- 
objections against the erotic discourses of Lysias, does not show 
that it offends against the sound general principle which he him- 
self lays down respecting the art of persuasion That the topics 
insisted on by the persuader shall be adapted to the feelings arid' 
dispositions of the persuadend. Far from violating this principle,, 
Lysias kept it in view, and employed it to the best of his power 
as we may see, not merely by his remaining orations, but also by 
the testimonies of the critics : 3 though he did not go through the 
large preliminary work of scientific classification, both of diffe- 
rent minds and different persuasive apparatus, which Plato con- 
siders essential to a thorough comprehension and mastery of the 

The first discourse assigned by Plato to Sokrates professes to 
comparison ^ e pl ac ed in competition with the discourse of Lysias, 
can be taken and to aim at the same object. But in reality it aims 

1 Plato, Phsedrus, pp. 263-264. still more inferior in respect to Seii/oTijs 

2 Dionysius (Judicmm De Lysia, pp. and to strong emotional effects. 
487-493) gives an elaborate criticism on 3 Dionys. Hal. (Ars Rhetorica, p. 
the fl-pay/u-cmKo? x a P ajer yp f Lysias. 381) notices the severe exigencies which 
The special excellence of Lysias (ac- Plato here imposes upon the Rhetor, 
cording to this critic) lay in his judicial remarking that scarcely any rhetorical 
orations, which were highly persuasive discourse could be produced which 
and plausible : the manner of present- came up to them. The defect did not 
ing thoughts was ingenious and adapted belong to Lysias alone, but to all other 
to the auditors : the narration of facts rhetors also birore yap KO.I Av<riav 
and details, especially, was performed e\eyx"> wao-av r^v werepav p^Toptjojv 
with unrivalled skill. But as to the lot/eei/ eMyvew. Demosthenes almost 
marshalling of the different parts of a alone (in the opinion of Dionysius) 
discourse, Dionysius considers Lysias contrived to avoid the fault, because 
as inferior to some other orators and he imitated Plato. 


at a different object : it gives the dissuasive argu- between 
mente, but omits the persuasive as Phsedrus is made *j^| ( * er " 
to point out : so that it cannot be fairly compared Lysias and 
with the discourse of Lysias. Still more may this be courseTde- 
said respecting the second discourse of Sokrates : sorates y 
which is of a character and purpose so totally dis- in the 
parate, that no fair comparison can be taken between w rus ' 
it and the ostensible competitor. The mixture of philosophy, 
mysticism, and dithyrambic poetry, which the second discourse 
of Sokrates presents, was considered by a rhetorical judge like 
Dionysius as altogether inconsistent with the scope and purpose 
of reasonable discourse. 1 In the Menexenus, Plato has brought 
himself again into competition with Lysias, and there the com- 
petition is fairer : 3 for Plato has there entirely neglected the 
exigencies enforced in the Phsedrus, and has composed a funeral 
discourse upon the received type ; which Lysias and other orators 
before him had followed, from Perikles downward. But in the 
Phsedrus, Plato criticises Lysias upon principles which are a 
medley between philosophy and rhetoric. Lysias, in defending 
himself, might have taken the same ground as we find Sokrates 
himself taking in the Euthydemus. " Philosophy and politics 
are two distinct walks, requiring different aptitudes, and having 
each its own practitioners. A man may take whichever he 
pleases ; but he must not arrogate to himself superiority by an 
untoward attempt to join the two together." 8 

Another important subject is also treated in the Phaedrus. 
Sokrates delivers views both original and charac- continuous 
teristic, respecting the efficacy of continuous discourse discourse, 
either written to be read, or spoken to be heard written or 
without cross-examination as a means of instruction, eifficacious" 
They are re-stated in a manner substantially the as a means 

xi -L. -.a. x j c i e -n ofinstruc- 

same, though with some variety and fulness of illus- tion to the 
tration in Plato's seventh Epistle 4 to the surviving te 00 * 3 - 11 *' 
friends of Dion. I have already touched upon these views in my 
fourth Chapter, on the Platonic Dialogues generally, and have 

1 See the Epistol. of Dion. Hallkarn. baum, Comm. in Menexenum, pp. 10- 
to Cneius Pompey -De Platone -pp. 11. 

755-765. 8 Plato, Euthyd&n. p. 306 A-C. 

2 Plato, Menexen. p 237 seq. Stall- < Plato, Epistol. vii. pp. 341-344. 



pointed out how much. Plato understood to be involved in what 
he termed knowledge. No man (in his view) could be said to 
know, who was not competent to sustain successfully, and to 
apply successfully, a Sokratic cross-examination. Now know- 
ledge, involving such a competency, certainly cannot be commu- 
nicated by any writing, or by any fixed and unchangeable array 
of words, whether written or spoken. You must familiarise 
learners with the subject on many different sides, and in relation 
to many different points of view, each presenting more or less 
chance of error or confusion. Moreover, you must apply a 
different treatment to each mind, and to the same mind at 
different stages : no two are exactly alike, and the treatment 
adapted for one will be unsuitable for the other. While it is 
impossible, for these reasons, to employ any set forms of words, it 
will be found that the process of reading or listening leaves the 
reader or listener comparatively passive : there is nothing to stir 
the depths of the mind, or to evolve the inherent forces and 
dormant capacities. Dialectic conversation is the only process 
which can adapt itself with infinite variety to each particular 
case and moment and which stimulates fresh mental efforts ever 
renewed on the part of each respondent and each questioner. 
Knowledge being a slow result generated by this stimulating 
operation, when skilfully conducted, long continued, and much 
diversified is not infused into, but evolved out of, the mind. 
It consists in a revival of those unchangeable Ideas or Forms, 
with which the mind during its state of eternal pre-existence 
had had communion. There are only a few privileged minds, 
however, that have had sufficient communion therewith to render 
such revival possible : accordingly, none but these few can ever 
rise to knowledge. 1 

Though knowledge cannot be first communicated by written 
Written matters, yet if it has been once communicated and 
matter is subsequently forgotten, it may be revived by written 
memoran- matters. Writing has thus a real, though secondary, 
person? usefulness, as a memorandum. And Plato doubtless 
who know accounted written dialogues the most useful of all 

i Schleiermacher, in his Introduc- " die acht Sokratische erhabene Ver- 
tion tothe Phtedrus, justly character- achtnng alles Schreibens und allea red- 
ises this doctrine as genuine Sokratism nerischen Redens," p. 70. 


written compositions, because they imitated portions 

of that long oral process whereby alone knowledge pastime. 

had been originally generated. His dialogues were reports of 

the conversations purporting to have been held by Sokrates with 


It is an excellent feature in the didactic theories of Plato, that 
they distinguish so pointedly between the passive and 
active conditions of the intellect ; and that they pos- didactic 
tulate as indispensable, an habitual and cultivated 

mental activity, worked up by slow, long-continued, nigh to be 
colloquy. To read or hear, and then to commit to 
memory, are in his view elegant recreations, but nothing more. 
But while, on this point, Plato's didactic theories deserve admira- 
tion, we must remark on the other hand that they are pitched so 
high as to exceed human force, arid to overpass all possibility of 
being realised. 1 They mark out an ideal, which no person ever 
attained, either then or since like the Platonic theory of 
rhetoric. To be master of any subject, in the extent and perfec- 
tion required for sustaining and administering a Sokratic crons- 
exainination is a condition which scarce any one can ever fulfil: 
certainly no one, except upon a small range of subjects. 
Assuredly, Plato himself never fulfilled it. 

Such a cross-examination involved the mastery of all the 
openings for doubt, difficulty, deception, or refutation, 
bearing on the subject : openings which a man is to 
profit by, if assailant to keep guarded, if defendant, found com. 
Now when we survey the Greek negative philoHophy, oive the 
as it appears in Plato, Aristotle, and Sextus Empiri- SSltoy* 
cus and when we recollect that between the second H<*rates, 

i 41 11 i j/i n -11 ArkeHilaus. 

and the third ot these names, there appeared three Karneades, 
other philosophers equally or more formidable in the negative 
same vein, all whose arguments have perished (Arke- ve "f of 
silaus, Karneades, JSnesidemus) we shall see that y ' 

no man has ever been known competent both to strike and parry 
with these weapqns, in a manner so skilful and ready as to 

i A remark made by Sextos Era- pavontv rbv ixovra T^V irepl rbv ftiov 

piricus (upon another doctrine which -ri\VT]v, virtp^>0eyvo^4vutv itrri 

he is discussing) may be applied to r*v ivOpioww ^>v<riv, al VYO- 

this View of Plato rb * Myeiv on utvuv ftoAAov if dAij0^ Xrydrrwi/ (Pyrrh. 

jA- Hyp. iii. 244). 


amount to knowledge in the Platonic sense. But in so far as 
such knowledge is attainable or approachable, Plato is right 
in saying that it cannot be attained except by long dialectic 
practice. Reading books, and hearing lectures, are undoubtedly 
valuable aids, but insufficient by themselves. Modern times 
recede from it even more than ancient. Begulated oral dialectic 
has become unknown ; the logical and metaphysical difficulties 
which negative philosophy required to be solved before it 
would allow any farther progress are now little heeded, amidst 
the multiplicity of observed facts, and theories adapted to and 
commensurate with those facts. This change in the character of 
philosophy is doubtless a great improvement. It is found that 
by acquiescing provisionally in the axiomata media, and by 
applying at every step the control of verification, now rendered 
possible by the multitude of ascertained facts the sciences may 
march safely onward : notwithstanding that the logical and 
metaphysical difficulties, the puzzles (dnopiai) involved in philo- 
sophia prima and its very high abstractions, are left behind 
unsolved and indeterminate. But though the modern course of 
philosophy is preferable to the ancient, it is not for that reason to 
be considered as satisfactory. These metaphysical difficulties are 
not diminished either in force or relevancy, because modern 
writers choose to leave them unnoticed. Plato arid Aristotle 
were quite right in propounding them as problems, the solution 
of which was indispensable to the exigencies and consistent 
schematism of the theorising intelligence, as well as to any com- 
plete discrimination between sufficient and insufficient evidence. 
Such they still remain, overlooked yet not defunct. 

Now all these questions would be solved by the idtal philoso- 
Plato'sie^oJ P^ er wnom Plato in the Phsedrus conceives as pos- 
philosopher sessing knowledge : a person who shall be at once a 
realised negative Sokrates in excogitating and enforcing all 
hypothesis the difficulties and an affirmative match for So- 
ot a pre- krates, as respondent in solving them : a person com- 
omniscien" petent to apply this process to all the indefinite 
latedinto U var * etv ^ individual minds, under the inspirations 
luUremini- of the moment. This is a magnificent ideal. Plato 
scence ere. ^p^ truly, that those teachers who taught rhetoric 
and philosophy by writing, could never produce sueli a pupil ; 


and that even the Sokratic dialectic training, though indispen- 
sable and far more efficacious, would fail in doing so, unless in 
those few cases where it was favoured by very superior capacity 
understood by him as superhuman, and as a remnant from the 
pre-existing commerce of the soul with the world of Forms or 
Ideas. The foundation therefore of the whole scheme rests upon 
Plato's hypothesis of an antecedent life of the soul, proclaimed 
by Sokrates here in his second or panegyrical discourse on Eros. 
The rhetorical teachers, with whom he here compares himself 
and whom he despises as aiming at low practical ends might at 
any rate reply that they avoided losing themselves in such un- 
measured and unwarranted hypotheses. 

One remark yet remains to be made upon the doctrine here 
set forth by Plato : that no teaching is possible by Different 
means of continuous discourse spoken or written 5fH?to?n 
none, except through prolonged and varied oral dia- theTimams. 
lectic. 1 To this doctrine Plato does not constantly conform in 
his practice : he departs from it on various important occasions. 
In the Timseus, Sokrates calls upon the philosopher so named 
for an exposition on the deepest and most mysterious cosmical 
subjects. Timoeus delivers the exposition in a continuous 
harangue, without a word of remark or question addressed by 
any of the auditors : while at the beginning of the Kritias (the 
next succeeding dialogue) Sokrates greatly commends what 
Timaeus had spoken. The Kritias itself too (though unfinished) 
is given in the form of continuous exposition. Now, as the 
Timseus is more abstruse than any other Platonic writing, we 
cannot imagine that Plato, at the time when he composed it, 
thought so meanly about continuous exposition, as a vehicle of 
instruction, as we find him declaring in the Phsedrus. I point 
this out, because it illustrates my opinion that the different dia- 
logues of Plato represent very different, sometimes even opposite, 

i The historical Sokrates would not TOV ^avdavovra. The Platonic So- 

allow his oral dialectic process to be krates, in the Phnedrus and Symposion, 

called teaching. He expressly says differs from both ; he recognises no 

" I have never been the teacher of any teaching except the perpetual genera* 

one" (Plat. Apol. Sokr. pp. 33 A, 19 E): tion of new thoughts and feelings, by 

and he disclaimed the possession of means of stimulating dialectic colloquy, 

knowledge. Aristotle too considers and the revival in the mind thereby 

teaching as a presentation of truths, of the experience of an antecedent life, 

ready made and supposed to be known, during which some communion has 

by the teacher to learners, who are been enjoyed with the world of Ideas 

bound to believe them, Set y&p wtorevecv or Forms. 


points of view : and that it is a mistake to treat them as parts of 
one preconceived and methodical system. 

Plato is usually extolled by his admirers, as the champion of 
Opposite ^ e Absolute of unchangeable forms, immutable 
tendencies truth, objective necessity cogent and binding on every 
co-existent rr - j r i. * * i -rT A 

in Plato's one. He is praised for having refuted Protagoras ; 

treme~of the w ^ can ^ n( * no stan( lard beyond the individual 
Transcen- recognition and belief, of his own mind or that of 
Absolute some one else. There is no doubt that Plato often 

s^eSsing talks in that strain : but the m ^thod followed in his 
adaptation dialogues, and the general principles of method which 
he lays down, here as well as elsewhere, point to a 

directly opposite conclusion. Of this the Pha3drus is 
a signal instance. Instead of the extreme of generality, it pro- 
claims the extreme of specialty. The objection which the 
Sokrates of the Phsedrus advances against the didactic efficacy of 
written discourse, is founded on the fact, that it is the same to 
all readers that it takes no cognizance of the differences of 
individual minds nor of the same mind at different times. So- 
krates claims for dialectic debate the valuable privilege, that it is 
constant action and re-action between two individual minds an 
appeal by the inherent force and actual condition of each, to the 
like elements in the other an ever shifting presentation of the 
same topics, accommodated to the measure of intelligence and 
cast of emotion in the talkers and at the moment. The indi- 
viduality of each mind both questioner and respondent is here 
kept in view as the governing condition of the process. No two 
minds can be approached by the same road or by the same 
interrogation. The questioner cannot advance a step except by 
the admission of the respondent. Every respondent is the 
measure to himself. He answers suitably to his own belief ; he 
defends by his own suggestions ; he yields to the pressure of 
contradiction and inconsistency, when he feels them, and not 
before. Each dialogist is (to use the Protagorean phrase) the 
measure to himself of truth and falsehood, according as he him- 
self believes it. Assent or dissent, whichever it may be, springs 
only from the free working of the individual mind, in its actual 
condition then and there. It is to the individual mind alone, 
that appeal is made, and this is what Protagoras asks for. 


We thus find, in Plato's philosophical character, two extreme 
opposite tendencies and opposite poles co-existent "We must 
recognise them both : but they can never be reconciled : some- 
times he obeys and follows the one, sometimes the other. 

If it had been Plato's purpose to proclaim and impose upon 
every one something which he called " Absolute Truth," one and 
the same alike imperative upon all he would best proclaim it 
by preaching or writing. To modify this " Absolute," according 
to the varieties of the persons addressed, would divest it of its 
intrinsic attribute and excellence. If you pretend to deal with 
an Absolute, you must turn away your eyes from all diversity of 
apprehending intellects and believing subjects. 




IN the dialogues immediately preceding Phaedon, Phoedrus, 
Character of Symposion we have seen Sokrates manifesting his 
dialogues usual dialectic, which never fails him : but we have 
l^preceii- 6 " also seen him indulging in a very unusual vein of 
tr?nscm h P os itive affirmation and declaration. He has un- 
dental folded many novelties about the states of pre-exist- 

tfpposite" ence and post-existence : he has familiarised us with 
o? a the ter Ideas, Forms, Essences, eternal and unchangeable, as 
Parme- the causes of all the facts and particularities of 
rm es. nature : he has recognised the inspired variety of 

madness, as being more worthy of trust than sober, uninspired, 
intelligence : he has recounted, with the faith of a communicant 
fresh from the mysteries, revelations made to him by the 
prophetess Diotima, respecting the successive stages of exalta- 
tion whereby gifted intelligences, under the stimulus of Eros 
Philosophus, ascend into communion with the great sea of 
Beauty. All this is set forth with as much charm as Plato's 
eloquence can bestow. But after all, it is not the true character 
of Sokrates : I mean, the Sokrates of the Apology, whose 
mission it is to make war against the chronic malady of the 
human mind false persuasion of knowledge, without the reality. 
It is, on the contrary, Sokrates himself infected with the same 
chronic malady which he combats in others, and requiring 
medicine against it as much as others. Such is the exact charac- 
ter in which Sokrates appears in the Parmenides : which dialogue 
I shall now proceed to review. 
The Parmenides announces its own purpose as intended to 


repress premature forwardness of affirmation, in a sokratosis 

young philosophical aspirant : who, with meritorious {j 1 ?^}^^ 

eagerness in the search for truth, and with his eyes Parmenides 

turned in the right direction to look for it has censo^amf 

nevertheless not fully estimated the obstructions be- crpas-exa- 

* miner. Par- 

setting his path, nor exercised himself in the efforts menides 

necessary to overcome them. By a curious trans- Specimen of 
position, or perhaps from deference on Plato's part to exercises 
the Hellenic sentiment of Nemesis, Sokrates, who formed by 
in most Platonic dialogues stands forward as the 
privileged censor and victorious opponent, is here the rant - 
juvenile defendant under censorship by a superior. It is the 
veteran Parmenides of Elea who, while commending the specu- 
lative impulse and promise of Sokrates, impresses upon him at 
the same time that the theory which lie had advanced the 
self-existence, the separate and substantive nature, of Ideas 
stands exposed to many grave objections, which he (Sokrates) has 
not considered and cannot meet. So far, Parmenides performs 
towards Sokrates the same process of cross-examining refutation 
as Sokrates himself applies to Theoute'tus and other young men 
elsewhere. But we find in this dialogue something ulterior and 
even peculiar. Having warned Sokrates that his intellectual 
training has not yet been carried to a point commensurate with 
the earnestness of his aspirations Parmenides proceeds to de- 
scribe to him what exercises he ought to go through, in order to 
guard himself against premature assertion or hasty partiality. 
Moreover, Parmenides not only indicates in general terms what 
ought to be done, but illustrates it by giving a specimen of such 
exercise, on a topic chosen by himself. 

Passing over the dramatic introduction 1 whereby the per- 

i This dramatic introduction is ex- the past, in order to justify the bring- 
tremely complicated. The whole dia- ing Sokrates into personal coramunica- 
logue, from beginning to end, is re- tion with Parmenides : for some un- 
counted by Kephalns of Klazomenae ; friendly critics tried to make out that 
who heard it from the Athenian Anti- the two could not possibly have con- 
phon who himself had heard it from versed on philosophy (AtlienteiiH, xi. 
Fythod6rus, a friend of Zeno, present 505). Plato declares the ages of the 
when the conversation was held. A persons with remarkable exactness: 
string of circumstances are narrated Parmenides was 66, completely grey- 
by Kephalus, to explain how he came headed, but of noble mien : Zeno altout 
to wish to hear it, and to find out Anti- 40, tall and graceful : Sokrates very 
phon. Plato appears anxious to throw young. (Plat. Parmen. p. 127 JB-C.) 
the event back as far as possible into It required some invention in Plato 


Circum- sonages discoursing are brought together, we find So- 
*8on8^ d Crates, P armen ides, and the Eleatic Zeno (the disciple 
the Parme- of Parmenides), engaged in the main dialogue. When 
nicies. Parmenides begins his illustrative exercise, a person 

named Aristotle (afterwards one of the Thirty oligarchs at 
Athens), still younger than Sokrates, is made to serve as re- 

Sokrates is one among various auditors, who are assembled 
to hear Zeno reading aloud a treatise of his own composition, 
intended to answer and retort upon the opponents of his pre- 
ceptor Parmenides. 

The main doctrine of the real Parmenides was, "That Ens, 
Manner in the absolute, real, self-existent, was One and not 
doctrine 16 many " : wtich doctrine was impugned and derided 
of Parme- by various opponents, deducing from it absurd con- 
elusions. Zeno defended his master by showing that 
the PP site Doctrine ("That Ens, the absolute, 
partisan self-existent universe, is Many ") led to conclusions 
fended 6 * absurd in an equal or greater degree. If the Absolute 
him - Ens were Many, the many would be both like and 

unlike : but they cannot have incompatible and contradictory 
attributes : therefore Absolute Ens is not Many. Ens, as Par- 
menides conceived it, was essentially homogeneous and un- 
changeable : even assuming it to be Many, all its parts must be 
homogeneous, so that what was predicable of one must be pre- 
dicable of all ; it might be all alike, or all unlike : but it could not 
be both. Those who maintained the plurality of Ens, did so on 
the ground of apparent severalty, likeness, and unlikeness, in the 
sensible world. But Zeno, while admitting these phenomena in 
the sensible world, as relative to us, apparent, and subject to the 
varieties of individual estimationdenied their applicability to 
absolute and self-existent Ens. 1 Since absolute Ens or Entia are 
Many (said the opponents of Parmenides), they will be both like 
and unlike : and thus we can explain the phenomena of the 
sensible world. The absolute (replied Zeno) cannot be both like 
and unlike ; therefore it cannot be many. We must recollect 

to provide a narrator, suitable for re- 1 1 have already given a short ac- 
counting events so long antecedent as count of the Zenonian Dialectic, ch. ii. 
the young period of Sokrates. p. 93 seq. 


that both Parmenides and Zeno renounced all attempt to explain 
the sensible world by the absolute and purely intelligible Ens. 
They treated the two as radically distinct and unconnected. 
The one was absolute, eternal, unchangeable, homogeneous, 
apprehended only by reason. The other was relative, temporary,, 
variable, heterogeneous ; a world of individual and subjective 
opinion, upon which no absolute truth, no pure objectivity,, 
could be reached. 

Sokrates, depicted here as a young man, impugns this doctrine 
of Zeno : and maintains that the two worlds, though grates 
naturally disjoined, were not incommunicable. He hereim- 
advances the Platonic theory of Ideas : that is, an doctrine of 
intelligible world of many separate self -existent affirms the 
Forms or Ideas, apprehended by reason only and a Platonic 
sensible world of particular objects, each participating ideaTsepa- 
in one or more of these Forms or Ideas. " What you sensible 
say (he remarks to Zeno), is true of the world of objects, yet 
Forms or Ideas: the Form of Likeness per se can paWby 
never be unlike, nor can the Form of Unlikeness be * bem ' 
ever like. But in regard to the sensible world, there is nothing 
to hinder you and me, and other objects which rank and are 
numbered as separate individuals, from participating both in the 
Form of likeness and in the Form of unlikeness. 1 In so far as I,, 
an individual object, participate in the Form of Likeness, I am 
properly called like ; in so far as I participate in the Form of 
Unlikeness, I am called unlike. So about One and Many, 
Great and Little, and so forth : I, the same individual, may 
participate in many different and opposite Forms, and may 
derive from them different and opposite denominations. I am 
one and many like and unlike great and little all at the 
same time. But no such combination is possible between the 
Forms themselves, self-existent and opposite : the Form of Like- 
ness cannot become unlike, nor vice versd. The Forms themselves 
stand permanently apart, incapable of fusion or coalescence with 
each other : but different and even opposite Forms may lend 

* Plato, Parmenid. p. 129 A. ov ivavrtov, $ iariv a?4/Ltoto?; rovroiv 
' *a0 avrb ctfttfc rt, Svolv OVTOLV xai Ipk 

rotovry a$ dXXo TI &) TroXAd xaXovfMV, / 

. . UU. V* 1.UO A. UV KttKTlWK, W CVTir eiFUJUWVVP, TVVrWfcf UV 

i'OMi^t etvou avrb *otf ovrb_ tW? rt Svolv &VTOW ictu Ipk KOI ai ical ra aAAa & 

OfLOuSrifTOC, KCU T^ 1 




and Zeno 
admire the 
cal ardour 
of Sokrates. 
against the 
theory of 

themselves to participation and partnership in the same sensible 
individual object." l 

Parmenides and Zeno are represented as listening with surprise 
and interest to this language of Sokrates, recognising 
two distinct worlds : one, of invisible but intelligible 
Forms, the other that of sensible objects, partici- 
pating in these Forms. " Your ardour for philosophy " 
(observes Parmenides to Sokrates), " is admirable. Is 
this distinction your own ? " 2 

Plato now puts into the mouth of Parmenides the 
advocate of One absolute and unchangeable Ens, sepa- 
rated by an impassable gulf from the sensible world 
of transitory and variable appearances or phenomena objections 
against what is called the Platonic theory of Ideas : that is, the 
theory of an intelligible world, comprising an indefinite number 
of distinct intelligible and unchangeable Forms in partial rela- 
tion and communication with another world of sensible objects, 
each of which participates in one or more of these Forms. We 
thus have the Absolute One pitted against the Absolute Many. 

What number and variety of these intelligible Forms do you 
What Ideas recognise (asks Parmenides)? Likeness and Unlike- 
ness One and Many Just, Beautiful, Good, &c. 
are all these Forms absolute and existent per se ? 
Sokr. Certainly they are. Farm. Do you farther 
recognise an absolute and self-existent Form of Man, 
Doubtful. apart from us and all other individuals ? or a Form 
Mud, a &c.? f nre > water, and the like? Sokr. I do not well 
No - know how to answer : I have often been embarrassed 

with the question. Farm. Farther, do there exist distinct 
intelligible Forms of hair, mud, dirt, and all the other mean and 
contemptible objects of sense which we see around ? Sokr. No 
certainly no such Forms as these exist. Such objects are as 
we see them, and nothing beyond : it would be too absurd to 
suppose Forms of such like things. 8 Nevertheless there are 

l Plato, Parmenid. pp. 129-130. * Plato, Parmenid. p. 130 D. OvSa- 

2Plato, Parmenid^ p. ISO A. *O jxw?, <f>ai/at rov StoKpd-njv, aAAa Tat/Ta 

SoiicpaTes, a>s aios et ayaartfeu TTJS opfjujs j&e'v yc, airep opw/xev, ravra teal elvat 

r/js irrl TOVS Amyous KCU px>t lire, et5o? 5e TC avrwi/ Oir)Ofjv(U, cli/at /arj Axav 

avrb <rv OVTW f]7pi7<rat w? $ aroirov. 

! avra arra, xopl? Alexander, who opposes the doctrine 

wra; of the Platonists about Ideas, treats it 

does Sok- 
rates recog- 
nise? Of 

Aeyeis, Ytupl? u 
5e ret TovTwi' aS j 


times when I have misgivings on the point ; and when I suspect 
that there must be Forms of them as well as of the others. When 
such reflections cross my mind, I shrink from the absurdity of 
the doctrine, and try to confine my attention to Forms like those 
which you mentioned first. 

Farm. You are still young, Sokrates : you still defer to the 
common sentiments of mankind. But the time will Parmenides 
come when philosophy will take stronger hold of you, J a ^ s ob 
and will teach you that no object in nature is mean joct in na- 
or contemptible in her view.* r the $u n - 


upon this 

This remark deserves attention. Plato points out ^^J astbe " 
the radical distinction, and frequent antipathy between tional and 
classifications constructed by science, and those which classified 
grow up spontaneously under the associating influence tion - 
of a common emotion. What he calls " the opinions of men," 
in other words, the associations naturally working in an untaught 
and unlettered mind bring together the ideas of objects accord- 
ing as they suggest a like emotion veneration, love, fear, anti- 
pathy, contempt, laughter, &c. 2 As things which inspire like 
emotions are thrown into the same category and receive the same 
denomination, so the opposite proceeding inspires great repug- 
nance, when things creating antipathetic emotions are forced into 
the same category. A large proportion of objects in nature come 
to be regarded as unworthy of any serious attention, and fit only 
to serve for discharging on them our laughter, contempt, or 
antipathy. The investigation of the structure and manifestations 
of insects is one of the marked features which Aristophanes 
ridicules in Sokrates : moreover the same poet also brings odium 
on the philosopher for alleged study of astronomy and meteoro- 
logythe heavenly bodies being as it were at the opposite emo- 
tional pole, objects of such reverential admiration and worship, 

as understood that they did not re- &6av t ore ov&ev avrSiv dn/iao-ets- 

cognise Ideas of worms, gnats, and vvvtem wpb Avdptiirtav iirojSAe- 

such like animals. Schol. ad Aristot. Tret 5 56 a? Sia r^v ^Aucuu'. 

Metaphys. A. 991 a. p. 675, a. 30 2 Plato, himself, however, occasion- 

Brandis. ally appeals irpbs apdpwn-wv fi<Jas, and 

i Plato, Pannenid. p. 130 E. N<?os becomes dTxfws Srj/uwjyopos, when it 

yap el ,<?rt, xal OVTTW crov dpTeiAqnTou suits his argument; see Gorgias, 494 

4><Ao<ro<ta w crt apT(Ai?^eT<u, KO.T* e/uu)? C. 


that it was impious to watch or investigate them, or calculate 
their proceedings beforehand. 1 The extent to which anatomy 
and physiology were shut out from study in antiquity, and have 
continued to be partially so even in modern times, is well known. 
And the proportion of phenomena is both great and important, 
connected with the social relations, which are excluded both from 
formal registration and from scientific review ; kept away from 
all rational analysis either of causes or remedies, because of the 
strong repugnances connected with them. This emotional view 
of nature is here noted by Plato as conflicting with the scientific. 
No object (he says) is mean in the eyes of philosophy. He 
remarks to the same effect in the Sophistes and Politikus, and 
the remark is illustrated by the classifying processes there ex- 
hibited : 2 mean objects and esteemed objects being placed side 
by side. 

Parmenides now prodiiees various objections against the 
Platonic variety of dualism : the two distinct but partially inter- 
communicating worlds one, of separate, permanent, unchange- 
able, Forms or Ideas the other, of individual objects, transient 
and variable ; participating in, and receiving denomination from, 
these Forms. 

1. How (asks Parmenides) can such participation take place ? 

i Aristophan. Nubes, 145-170-1490. horses. Indeed this comparison occurs 
rote 0<?ov* iBaittrov, so frequently, that it excites much dis- 


Compare Xenoph. Memor. i. 1, 11-13, who seem to consider it as unseemly 

iv. 7, 6-7 ; Plutarch, Perikles, 23 ; also and inconsistent with " the dignity of 

the second chapter of the first Book of human nature". The frequent allu- 

Macrobius, about the discredit which sions made by Plato to the homely 

is supposed to be thrown upon grand arts and professions are noted by his 

and solemn subjects by a plain and interlocutors as tiresome. 
naked exposition. " Inimicam esse See Plato, Apolog. Sokr. p. 20 A. 

nature nudam expositionem sui." & KaAAta, et ueV arov TU> vt& wwXw 

2 Plato, "Sophist p. 227 B; Politik. ^OCTYCO tvei/fofe)?, &C. 
p. 266 D ; also Theaetet p. 174 D. The Zoological works of Aristotle 

Both the Platonic Sokrates, and the exhibit a memorable example of scien- 

Xenophontio Sokrates, frequently illus- tiflc intelligence, overcoming aU the 

trate the education of men by com- contempt and disgust usually associated 

parison with the bringing up of young with minute ana repulsive organisms. 

animals as well as with the training of To Plato, it would be repugnant to 

horses : they also compare the educator arrange in the same class tne wolf and 

of young men with the trainer of young the dog. Seta Sophist p. 231 A. 


Is the entire Form in each individual object ? No : Ob s ections 
for one and the same Form cannot be at the same of Panne- 
time in many distant objects. A part of it therefore Jan^bjectsT 

must be in one object ; another part in another. But P^ ^ 
,. * * T* .,..,, . intheldeaa? 

this assumes that the Form is divisible or is not Each cannot 

essentially One. Equality is in all equal objects : but whole idea, 
how can a part of the Form equality, less than the nor a P ar t 
whole, make objects equal? Again, littleness is in 
all little objects : that is, a part of the Form littleness is in each. 
But the Form littleness cannot have parts ; because, if it had, 
the entire Form would be greater than any of its parts, and the 
Form littleness cannot be greater than any thing. Moreover, if 
one part of littleness were added to other parts, the sum of the 
two would be less, and not greater, than either of the factors. It 
is plain that none of these Forms can be divisible, or can have 
parts. Objects therefore cannot participate in the Form by parts 
or piecemeal. But neither can each object possess the entire 
Form. Accordingly, since there remains no third possibility, 
objects cannot participate in the Forms at all. 1 

2. Parmenides now passes to a second argument. The reason 
why you assume that each one of these Forms exists, 
is That when you contemplate many .similar objects, 
one and the same ideal phantom or Concept is sug- 
gested by all. 2 Thus, when you see many great J 6 ^* par- 
objects, one common impression of greatness arises the^cfoa*! 
from all. Hence you conclude that The Great, or 1^^ be- 
the Form of Greatness, exists as One. But if you tween them 

Jl ,, ._, ~ , . , . , . which munt 

take this Form of Greatness, and consider it in com- > Je repre- 

parison with each or all the great individual objects, 
it will have in common with them something that and so on 
makes it great. You must therefore search for some M 

higher Form, which represents what belongs in common both to 
the Form of Greatness and to individual great objects. And this 
higher Form again, when compared with the rest, will have 

334 Fab., p. 724 Bek. irdvra L&OVTI, oQtv tv rb 

2 Plato, Parmenid. p. 132. Ol/xeu are ijyei tlvau. 




something in common which must be represented by a Form yet 
higher : so that there will be an infinite series of Forms, as- 
cending higher and higher, of which you will never reach the 
topmost. 1 

3. Perhaps (suggests Sokrates) each of these Forms is a Con- 
Are the ception of the mind and nothing beyond : the Form 
ceptfoSs n of is not com petent to exist out of the mind. 2 How ? 
the mind (replies Parmenides.) There cannot be in the mind 
mor"? Im? anv Conception, which is a Conception of nothing, 
possible. Every Conception must be of something really exist- 
ing : in this case, it is a Conception of some one thing, which 
you conceive as belonging in common to each and all the objects 
considered. The Something thus conceived as perpetually One 
and the same in all, is, the Form. Besides, if you think that 
individual objects participate in the Forms, and that these Forms 
are Conceptions of the mind, you must suppose, either that all 

i Plato, Parmenid. p. 132 A. See this 
process, of comparing the Form with 
particular objects denominated after 
the Form, described in a different meta- 
physical language by Mr. John Stuart 
Mill, System of Logic, book iv. ch. 2, 
sect. 3. "As the general conception 
is itself obtained by a comparison of 
particular phenomena, so, when ob- 
tained, the mode in which we apply it 
to other phenomena is again by com- 
parison. We compare phenomena with 
each other to get the conception ; and 
we then compare those and other phe- 
nomena with the conception. We get 
the conception of an animal by com- 
paring different animals, and when we 
afterwards see a creature resembling 
an animal, we compare it with our 
general conception 01 an animal: and 
if it agrees with our general concep- 
tion, we include it in the class. The 
conception becomes the type of com- 
parison. We may perhaps find that 
no considerable number of other objects 
agree with this first general concep- 
tion : and that we must drop the con- 
ception, and beginning again with a 
different individual case, proceed by 
fresh comparisons to a different general 

The comparison, which the argu- 
ment of the Platonic Parmenides as- 
sumes to be instituted, between TO 
I<5os and rot /uer^xoyra CIVTOV, is denied 
by Proklus ; who says that there can 

be no comparison, nor any jcotpoVq?, 
except between TO. b^orayrl : and that 
the Form is not buorayes with its par- 
ticipant particulars. (Proklus ad Par- 
menidem, p. 125, p. 684 ed. Stall- 

This argument of Parmenides is the 
memorable argument known under the 
name of 6 rptros avflpwrros. Against the 
Platonic eiS>j considered as x^ptoya, it 
is a forcible argument. See Aristot. 
Metaphys. A. 990, b. 15 seq. , where it is 
numbered among ot eucpt^ecrrepoi TW> 
Xoywv. We find from the Scholion of 
Alexander (p. 566 Brandis), that it was 
advanced in several different ways by 
Aristotle, in his work Ilepi 'ISewv : by his 
scholar Eudemus ei/ TOIS rrepi Ae'eo>$: 
and by a contemporary <ro$t<rn)9 named 
Polyxenus, as well as by other Sophists. 

2 Plato, Parmenid. p. 132 B. /*? 
rStv ciS&v Ka(TTOV fy r^ovrtav 
i/ 6 17/1 a, icat ovSa/xov^ avry ffjpocr- 
>?*!? eyyiypeo-flai a A. A-^o t ^ * ** 
^vX a ' s - ft otiv ; <}>avcu t ev SKO,' 


8ev6s ; "AAA* Afivvarov, eiireiv. "AAXa 
TII/OS; Nat. *Ovros q OVK OVTOS; *Oi/TO5. 
Oux e^ds TIVOS, & tri ira<nv eitelvo TO 
vo-qfjio. eirbv voei, fiiav nva o5<ra? iScav ; 

Aristotle (Topic, ii. 113, a. 25) indi- 
cates one way of meeting this argu- 
ment, if advanced by an adversary in 
dialectic debate ^l ray ifie'a? v rn*.l 


objects are made up of Conceptions, and are therefore themselves 
Concipients : or else that these Forms, though Conceptions, are 
incapable of conceiving. Neither one nor the other is admis- 
sible. 1 

4. Probably the case stands thus (says Sokrates). These 
Forms are constants and fixtures in nature, as models 

or patterns. Particular objects are copies or like- are types or 
nesses of them : and the participation of such objects and objects 

in the Form consists in being made like to it. 2 In 
that case (replies Parmenides), the Form must itself being 
be like to the objects which have been made like to them? inv 
it. Comparing the Form with the objects, that in P ssible - 
which they resemble must itself be a Form : and thus you will 
have a higher Form above the first Form and so upwards in the 
ascending line. This follows necessarily from the hypothesis 
that the Form is like the objects. The participation of objects 
in the Form, therefore, cannot consist in being likened to it. 3 

5. Here are grave difficulties (continues Parmenides) opposed 
to this doctrine of yours, affirming the existence of If I(leas 

self-existent, substantive, unchangeable, yet partici- exist, they 
, T T-, , ,., ,,. ".,, * f . cannot be 

pated, Forms. But difficulties still graver remain knowabie 

behind. Such Forms as you describe cannot be cog- cankno^ 6 
nizable by us : at least it is hard to show how they only what ia 
can be cognizable. Being self-existent and substan- ourselves? 
tive, they are not in us : such of them as are relative, ar^r^elatfve 
have their relation with each other, not with those tolndivi- 
particular objects among us, which are called great, relative 1 eas 
little, and so forth, from being supposed to be similar * I(lea8 - 
to or participant in the forms, and bearing names the same as 
those of the Forms. Thus, for example, if I, an individual man, 
am in the relation of master, I bear that relation to another iiidi- 

i Plato. Parmenid. p. 132 D. ov* 2 Aristotle (Metaphys. A. 991, a. 20) 

avdyicr), et roAAa (6775 T>V ei&uv pert- characterises this way of presenting the 

Xeu>, ) So/eeti/ erot etc vorj^rtav eKa<rrov Platonic Ideas as mere Kei/oAovta and 

etvflu icoi irdvra voeti/, i) vo^ara ovra poetical metaphor. See also the re- 

dvorjTd etvot; 'AXV ov8 TOVTO, 4>avai, markable Scholion of Alexander, pp. 

Sxei \6yov. 674-575, Brandis. 

The wordApityra here is used in its 
ordinary sense, in which it is the nega- 

Phadon, p. 80 B. Proklus (pp. 699- ? 
701, Stall.) is prolix but very obscure. p ' 



vidual man who is my servant, not to servantship in general (i.e. 
the Form of servantship, the Servus per se). My servant, again, 
bears the relation of servant to me, an individual man as master, 
not to mastership in general (i.e. to the Form of mastership, 
the Dominus per se). Both terms of the relation are individual 
objects. On the other hand, the Forms also bear relation to each 
other. The Form of servantship (Servus per se) stands in relation 
to -the Form of mastership (Dominus per se). Neither of them 
correlates with an individual object. The two terms of the rela- 
tion must be homogeneous, each of them a Form. 1 

Now apply this to the case of cognition. The Form of Cogni- 
Forms can tion correlates exclusively with the Form of Truth : 
"he known fi^ Form of each special Cognition, geometrical or 

only through * n > o 

the Form of medical, or other, correlates with the Form of Geo- 
wWch t w"do metry or Medicine. But Cognition as we possess it, 
not possess, correlates only with Truth relatively to us: also, 
each special Cognition of ours has its special correlating Truth, 
relatively to us. 2 Now the Forms are not in or with us, but 
apart from us : the Form of Cognition is not our Cognition, the 
Form of Truth is not our Truth. Forms can be known only 
through the Form of Cognition, which we do not possess : we 
cannot therefore know Forms. We have our own cognition, 
whereby we know what is relative to us ; but we know nothing 
more. Forms, which are not relative to us, lie out of our know- 
ledge. Bonuw per se, Pulchrum per se, and the other self-exis- 
tent Forms or Ideas, are to us altogether unknowable. 8 

6. Again, if there be a real self-existent Form of Cognition, 

Form of Cog- apart from that which we or others possess it must 
nation, supe- ,,,,, . , n . 

Tior to our doubtless be far superior in accuracy and perfection 

1 Plato, Parmenid. p. 188 E. 8* eTSos irpb? TO etSo? So*ct Xeyecrflot, 

2 Plato, Parmenid. p. 134 A. OVKOVI> otov avrrj crrtfvuia. avTOv^ ij&Vo?, *ra! 
*at etrKTr^/tiTj, avr)) /mv & e<rrii> eirKTTTJiKTf, avr) povAyjo-ts avrov ayaflov. Aristotle 
TTJS & e<mv aX^deta, av-nfjs av tnetvrp argues that there is no place in this 
etrj 67rt<rr^(U,ij; . . . "H 2 trap* yfi.iv doctrine for the <j>aiv6nfvov ayaQov, 
^irto-TiJ/uoj ov TYJS rap' yulv av a\i)0ei'as which nevertheless men often wish for, 
ITJ; Kat afl eKdo-TTf TJ jrap* rffilv Tri(TT^f*i7 and he remarks, in the Nikom. Ethica, 
rStv irop* f)fv ovrvv ejeaorrov av ^irtcmf/uwj i. 4, 1096 b. 83 that the <xvTb-<iyo0ov 
<ru/i^aii/oi etf ai ; IS neither irpanrbv nor trtirbv HvOpte- 

Aristotle fTopica, vi. p. 147, a. 6) try. 

Adverts to this as an argument against Plato, Pannenid. p. 134 C. *Ayv- 

the theory of Ideas, but without allud- <rrov apa iij.iv KO! avrb rbjcaXov b *<rrt, 

ing to the Parmenides ; indeed he puts cal rb ayaB6v t nal iravra a by < 

the argument in a different way TO avTas ovcras 


to that which we possess. 1 The Form of Beauty and cognition, 
the other Forms, must be in like manner superior to Jfhe^Gods 
that which is found under the same name in indivi- We cannot 
dual objects. This perfect Form of Cognition must nor can they 
therefore belong to the Gods, if it belong to any one. know us - 
But if so, the Gods must have a Form of Truth, the proper 
object of their Form of Cognition. They cannot know the truth 
relatively to us, which belongs to our cognition any more than 
we can know the more perfect truth belonging to them. So too 
about other Forms. The perfect Form of mastership belongs to 
the Gods, correlating with its proper Form of servantship. 
Their mastership does not correlate with individual objects like 
us : in other words, they are not our masters, nor are we their 
servants. Their cognition, again, does not correlate with indivi- 
dual objects like us : in other words, they do not know us, nor 
do we know them. In like manner, we in our capacity of 
masters are not masters of them we as cognizant beings know 
nothing of them or of that which they know. They can in no 
way correlate with us, nor can we correlate with them. 2 

Here are some of the objections, Sokrutes (concludes Par- 
menides), which beset your doctrine, that there exist Sum total of 
substantive, self-standing, Forms of Ideas, each re- aKuliistthe 
spectively definable. Many farther objections might ideas is 
also be urged. 3 So that a man may reasonably main- ff wedo not 
tain, either that none such exist or that, granting uw exist, 
their existence, they are essentially unknowable by and that 
us. He must put forth great ingenuity to satisfy knowabie, 
himself of the affirmative ; and still more wonderful no^falScti!? 
ingenuity to find arguments for the satisfaction of discussion, 
others, respecting this question. 

* An argument very similar is urged ow l rrapa ?$ 9f$ avrrj ecrnv y axpt- 

by ^Aristotle (Metaph. 9. 1050, b. 34) fie <rra.Tt\ Seern-oreta *al aimj f? d>cpi0e<rr(rn) 

el apa rtve's ttcri $u<reis rotavrat } ovai'at CTTICTT^TJ, OVT' av r\ StariroTeta i) ^KtCvtav 

ota? \yov<riv ot <v rote Xo'yots TO.? t5a$, (i. e. rail/ Ocuv) T\^V TTOTC av &e<rn6fftiev, 

irpAv fjia\\ov ennrrf^fjiov av re etTj 17 OUT' av ij ifTricrT^/itr) % pas yvoirf 

TO. elSrit el eiaiv ajrrcu at ifie'at rStv avrbv \6yov ovre 6e<nr6rat 

orrttv, &C. ovrt yiyvu<ricov<r<. ra 

5 Plato, Parmenid. p. 134 D-E. Ou- tret a wpdynara Oeol 


Nevertheless, on the other side (continues Parmenides), unless 
we admit the existence of such Forms or Ideas substantive, 
eternal, unchangeable, definable philosophy and dialectic dis- 
cussion are impossible. 1 

Here then, Parmenides entangles himself and his auditors 
rm mm * n ^ le P er pl ex i n 8 dilemma, that philosophical and 
put by Par- dialectic speculation is impossible, unless these Forms 
Acnteness or Ideas, together with the participation of sensible 

of his ob- objects in them, be granted ; while at the same time 
jections. ' , ' b , ' , . ... 

tins cannot be granted, until objections, which appear 

at first sight unanswerable, have been disposed of. 

The acuteness with which these objections are enforced, is 
remarkable. I know nothing superior to it in all the Platonic 
writings. Moreover the objections point directly against that 
doctrine which Plato in other dialogues most emphatically insists 
upon, and which Aristotle both announces and combats as cha- 
racteristic of Plato the doctrine of separate, self-existent, abso- 
lute, Forms or Ideas. They are addressed moreover to Sokrate^, 
the chief exponent of that doctrine here as well as in other dia- 
logues. And he is depicted as unable to meet them. 

It is true that Sokrates is here introduced as juvenile and 
The doc- untrained ; or at least as imperfectly trained. And 
Parmenides accordingly, Stallbaum with others think, that this 

attacks is j s the reason of his inability to meet the objections : 
the genuine . / J 

Platonic which (they tell us), though ingenious and plausible, 

Ideasf His vet navin g no application to the genuine Platonic 
objections doctrine about Ideas, might easily have been answered 
answered in if Plato had thought fit, and are answered in other 

'AAAot /utrj Aiai*, e$rj (iSokrates), f, Bav^a- mattres en the"ologie . . . condamna, de 

<rrb o A.<$yos, el rts TOV 6&v djro<TTep>)<rei concert avec eux, treize propositions 

TOV t6eVoi. qui ne sont presque toutes que les 

The inference here drawn by Par- axiomes familiers de I'averroisme : 

menides supplies the first mention of a Quod intellectus hominum est unus 

doctrine revived by (if not transmitted et idem numero. Quod mundus est 

to) Averroes and various scholastic seternus. Quod nunquam fuit primus 

doctors of the middle ages, so as to be homo. Quod Deus non cofjiioscit singv.- 

formally condemned by theological Gorier," &c. (Renan, Averroes, p. 213, 

councils. M. Renan tells us "En 2nd ed., p. 268.) 

1269, "htienne Tempier, ^veXjue de i ri,*. A 
Paris, ayant rassemfl6 le conseil des l Plato 


dialogues. 1 But to me it appears, that the doctrine fheffixmic 
which is challenged in the Parmenide's is the genuine dialogues. 
Platonic doctrine about Ideas, as enunciated by Plato in the Re- 
public, Phsedon, Philebus, Tim sens, and elsewhere though a 
very different doctrine is announced in the Sophistics. Objec- 
tions are here made against it in the Parmenide's. In what other 
dialogue has Plato answered them ? and what proof can be fur- 
nished that he was able to answer them? There are indeed 
many other dialogues in which a real world of Ideas absolute 
and unchangeable, is affirmed strenuously and eloquently, with 
various consequences and accompaniments traced to it : but there 
are none in which the Parmenidean objections are elucidated, or 
even recited. In the Phsedori, Phaedrus, Timaeus, Symposion, 
&c., and elsewhere, Sokrates is made to talk confidently about 
the existence and even about the cognoscibility of these Ideas ; 
just as if no such objections as those which we read in the Par- 
menides could be produced. 2 In these other dialogues, Plato 
accepts implicitly one horn of the Parmenidean dilemma ; but 
without explaining to us upon what grounds he allows himself 
to neglect the other. 

Socher has so much difficulty in conceiving that Plato can 
have advanced such forcible objections against a doc- t 
trine, which nevertheless in other Platonic dialogues stallbaum 
is proclaimed as true and important, that he declares ij",^ totter*' 

the Parmenides (together with the Sophistes and Po- maintains 
,.,., \ ., , < i ,. A i i i that Plato 

Jitikus) not to be genuine, but to have been composed would never 

by some unknown Megaric contemporary. To pans objections 

over the improbability that any unknown author against his 

i. i j -L i iie if own theory, 

should have been capable of composing works of so and denies 

much ability as these Socher's decision about epu- JlJIjt"^} 1 *" 1 " 
riousness is founded upon an estimate of Plato's phi- the Par- 
losophical character, which I think incorrect. Socher mem 

1 Stallbaum, Prolegom. pp. 52-286- than Stallbaum himself supposed : 
382. otherwise he would hardly have said 

2 According to Stallbaum (Prolegg. that the objections in the Parmenides 
pp. 277-337) the Parmenides is the could easily have been answered, if 
only dialogue in which Plato has dis- Plato had chosen. 

cussed, with philosophical exactness, Stallbaum tells us, not only respect- 

the theory of Ideas ; in all the other ing Socher but respecting Schfeier- 

dialogues he handles it in a popular macher (pp. 324-332), "Parmenidem 

and superficial manner. There is truth omnino non intellexit". In my judg- 

in this indeed more truth (I think) merit, Socher understands the dialogue 


expects (or at least reasons as if he expected) to find in Plato a 
preconceived system and a scheme of conclusions to which every 
thing is made subservient. 

In most philosophers, doubtless, this is what we do find. Each 
Phiioso- starts with some favourite conclusions, which he be- 
phers are lieves to be true, and which he supports by all the 
advocates, arguments in their favour, as far as his power goes. 
positive 81 ^ ke mentions the arguments against them, he usually 
system of answers the weak, slurs over or sneers at the strong : 
is own. a j. ftn y ra ^ j ie a k es ever y precaution that these 
counter arguments shall appear unimportant in the eyes of his 
readers. His purpose is, like that of a speaker in the public 
assembly, to obtain assent and belief: whether the hearers under- 
stand the question or not, is a matter of comparative indifference ; 
at any rate, they must be induced to embrace his conclusion. 
Unless he thus foregoes the character of an impartial judge, to 
take up that of an earnest advocate ; unless he bends the whole 
force of his mind to the establishment of the given conclusion 
he becomes suspected as deficient in faith or sincerity, and loses 
much in persuasive power. For an earnest belief, expressed with 
eloquence and feeling, is commonly more persuasive than any logic. 

Now whether this exclusive devotion to the affirmative side of 
Different certain questions be the true spirit of philosophy or 
spirit of > not, it is certainly not the spirit of Plato in his Dia- 
Diaiogues logues of Search ; wherein he conceives the work of 
of Search. philosophy in a totally different manner. He does 
not begin by stating, even to himself, a certain conclusion at 
which he has arrived, and then proceed to prove that conclusion 
to others. The search or debate (as I have observed in a preced- 
ing chapter) has greater importance in his eyes than the conclu- 
sion : nay, in a large proportion of his dialogues, there is no con- 
clusion at all : we see something disproved, but nothing proved. 
The negative element has with him a value and importance of 
its own, apart from the affirmative. He is anxious to set forth 
what can be said against a given conclusion ; even though not 
prepared to establish any thing in its place. 

better than Stallbaum, when he Platonic Ideas ; though I do not agree 
(Socher) says, that the objections in the with his inference about the spurious- 
first half bear against the genuine ness of the dialogue. 


Such negative element, manifested as it is in so many of 

the Platonic dialogues, has its extreme manifestation The p arme . 

in the Parmenides. When we see it here applied to nid ^ s is the 

a doctrine which Plato in other dialogues insists manifesta- 

upon as truth, we must call to mind (what sincere negative 16 

believers are apt to forget) that a case may always element, 
be made out against truth as well as in its favour : 
and that its privilege as a certified portion of " rea- 

soned truth," rests upon no better title than the ting forth 

superiority of the latter case over the former. It is case^gainlt 

for testing the two cases for determining where the the Theory 

, . of Ideas 

superiority lies and for graduating its amount isnotun- 
that the process of philosophising is called for, and natural - 
that improvements in the method thereof become desirable. 
That Plato should, in one of his many diversified dialogues, 
apply this test to a doctrine which, in other dialogues, he holds 
out as true is noway inconsistent with the general spirit of 
these compositions. Each of his dialogues has its own point of 
view, worked out on that particular occasion ; what is common 
to them all, is the process of philosophising applied in various 
ways to the same general topics. 

Those who, like Socher, deny Plato's authorship of the Parme- 
nides, on the ground of what is urged therein against the theory 
of Ideas, must suppose, either that he did not know that a nega- 
tive case could be made out against that theory ; or that knowing 
it, he refrained from undertaking the duty. 1 Neither supposi- 
tion is consistent with what we know both of his negative in- 
genuity, and of his multifarious manner of handling. 

The negative case, made out in the Parmenides against the 

i Plato, Philebus, p. 14, where the we find imputed to him hy Aristotle 
distinction taken coincides accurately (Gesch. der Griech. Phil. sect. 96, 3). 
enough with that which we read in This is not impossible ; but I find no- 
Plato, Parmenid. p. 129 A-D. sufficient ground for affirming it. 

Striimpell thinks that the Parmenides Nor can I see how the doctrine which 

was composed at a time of Plato's life Aristotle ascribes to Plato about the 

when he had become sensible of the Ideas (that they are generated by two 

difficultiesand contradictions attaching <rTot\ela or elements, TO ev along with 

to his doctrine of self-existent Forms rb /*ey a. KCUT& uiKpdV) affords any escape 

or Ideas, and when he was looking from the difficulties started in the 

about for some way of extrication Parmenides. 

from them : which way he afterwards Strttmpell considers the dialogue 

thought that he found in that approxi- Parmenides to have been composed 

mation to Py thagorism that exchange " ganz ausdrttcklich zur dialektischen 

of Ideas for Ideal numbers, Ac. which Uebung," ib. s. 00, 2, p. 128. 


Force of theory of Ideas, is indeed most powerful. The hypo- 
case 1 ?!? the 6 * nes * s ^ ^he Ideal World is unequivocally affirmed 
Parme- by Sokrates, with its four principal characteristics. 
Difficulties ! Complete essential separation from the world of 
tkipat?on" sense ' 2l Absolute self-existence. 3. Plurality of 
of sensible constituent items, several contrary to each other. 4. 
the world Unchangeable sameness and unity of each and all of 
of Ideas. them. Here we have full satisfaction given to the 
Platonic sentiment, which often delights in soaring above the 
world of sense, and sometimes (see Phaedon) in heaping con- 
temptuous metaphors upon it. But unfortunately Sokrates 
cannot disengage himself from this world of sense : he is obliged 
to maintain that it partakes of, or is determined by, these extra- 
sensible Forms or Ideas. Here commence the series of difficul- 
ties and contradictions brought out by the Elenchus of Par- 
menides. Are all sensible objects, even such as are vulgar, 
repulsive, and contemptible, represented in this higher world? 
The Platonic sentiment shrinks from the admission : the Platonic 
sense of analogy hesitates to deny it. Then again, how can both 
assertions be true first that the two worlds are essentially 
separate, next, that the one participates in, and derives its essence 
from, the other ? How (to use Aristotelian language x ) can the 
essence be separated from that of which it is the essence ? How 
can the Form, essentially One, belong at once to a multitude of 
particulars 1 

Two points deserve notice in this debate respecting the doc- 
trine of Ideas : 

1. Parmenides shows, and Sokrates does not deny, that these 
Difficulties Forms or Ideas described as absolute, self-existent. 

about the . . . - _ ' , ' 

cppniza- unchangeable, must of necessity be unknown and 
ideas f If unknowable to us. 2 Whatever we do know, or can 

Ideas are know, is relative to us ; to our actual cognition, or 
absolute, , * ... ' , , i - 1 

they cannot to our cognitive power. If you declare an object to 

1 Arist. Met. A. 991, b. 1. a&vvarov, <rnjju.n oy TTJS Trap' i\^lv av aAijfleiay 6117; 
XO>PIS elvat TTJV overiav teal oO ^ ovcrta. xai av eKatrrtj J) Trap q/u.ii/ eirLtrrr}fti) 

2 Plato, Parmenid. 133 B. et TIS 6011 Tra' >?fuv OI/TWV e/eao-TOV av eTri< 

. . 

enid. 133 B. et TIS 60117 Trap' >?fuv OI/TWV e/eao-TOV av eTri<royo7 

TrpotnjKety avra yiyvwo'Keo'flai ovra j-vuficuvoi eli/ai ; 134 C. ayv<acrrov apa 

roiavra old </>aptei' Selv elvai rot eiSi}. . . . "n^w ecrrt /cat avrb TO Ka\bv 6 eon, Koi 

a.iridavo<i av elrj 6 ayvaxTra avra dvayca- TO d-ya^oi', Kal rrdfTa a STJ <9 tfie'a? 

<v elf at. 184 A. 17 e Trap* r) e*r<,- ovcra 


"be absolute, you declare it to be neither known nor 
Imowable by us : if it be announced as known or they are 
knowable by us, it is thereby implied at the same 
time not to be absolute. If these Forms or Objects 
called absolute are known, they can be known only by of Homo 
an absolute Subject, or the Form of a cognizant Menaura - 
Subject : that is, by God or the Gods. Even thus, to call them 
absolute is a misnomer : they are relative to the Subject, and the 
Subject is relative to them. 

The opinion here advanced by the Platonic Parmenides asserts, 
in other words, what is equivalent to the memorable dictum of 
Protagoras " Man is the measure of all things of things 
-existent, that they do exist and of things non-existent, that 
they do not exist ". This dictum affirms universal relativity, 
and nothing else : though Plato, as we shall see in the elaborate 
argument against it delivered by Sokrates in the Theoete'tus, 
mixed it up with another doctrine altogether distinct and 
independent the doctrine that knowledge is sensible percep- 
tion. 1 Parmenides here argues that if these Forms or Ideas are 
known by us, they can be known only as relative to us : and that 
if they be not relative to us, they cannot be known by us at all. 
Such relativity belongs as much to the world of Conception, as to 
the world of Perception. And it is remarkable that iPlato 
admits this essential relativity not merely here, but also in the 
Sophistes : in which latter dialogue he denies the Forms or 
Ideas to be absolute existences, on the special ground that they 
are known : and on the farther ground that what is known 
must act upon the knowing mind, and must be acted upon 
thereby, i.e., must be relative. He there defines the existent 
to be, that which has power to act upon something else, or 
to be acted upon by something else. Such relativeness he 
declares to constitute existence: 2 defining existence to mean 

2. The second point which deserves notice in this portion of 
the Parmenides, is the answer of Sokrates (when em- Answer of 
barrassed by some of the questions of the Eleatic That Ideas 

1 1 shall discuss this in the coming This reasoning is put into the month 
chapter upon the Theaetetus. of the Eleatic Stranger, the principal 

2 Plato, Sophistes, pp. 248-249. person in that dialogue. 




of Par- 

are mere veteran) " That these Forms or Ideas are concep- 
of thePmindl tions of the mind, and have no existence out of the 
mind ". This answer gives us the purely Subjective, 
or negation of Object : instead of the purely Objective 
(Absolute), or negation of Subject. 1 Here we have 
what Porphyry calls the deepest question of philo- 
sophy 2 explicitly raised : and, as far as we know, for 
the first time. Are the Forms or Ideas mere conceptions of the 
mind and nothing more ? Or are they external, separate, self- 
existent realities ? The opinion which Sokrates had first given 
declared the latter : that which he now gives declares the former. 
He passes from the pure Objective (ie., without Subject) to the 
pure Subjective (i.e., without Object). Parmenides, in his reply, 
points out that there cannot be a conception of nothing : that if 
there be Conceptio, there must be Conceptum aliquid : * and that 
this Conceptum or Concept is what is common to a great many 
distinct similar Percepta. 

1 Plato, Parmenid. p. 132 A-B. 

The doctrine, that TroioTTjres were 
\lti\al ei/i/otat, having no existence with- 
out the mind, was held by Antisthenes 
as well as by the Eretrian sect of 
philosophers, contemporary with Plato 
and shortly after him. Simplikius, 
Schol. ad Aristot. Categ. p. 68, a. 30, 
Brandis. See, respecting Antisthenes, 
the first volume of the present work, 
p. 165. 

2 See the beginning of Porphyry's 
Introduction to the Categories of Ari- 
stotle. j8a0VTar)S OUOTJ? TTJS TOtavrqs 
Trpay^aretas, &C. irepl yevStv re Kail 
et6(ov, eire u^eorTjKev, etre Kal ei/ /appai? 
i/aXou? 67rii/oi<u? KCITOU, &C. Simplikius 
(in Schol. ad Aristot. Categ. p. 68, a. 28, 
ed. Brandis) alludes to the Eretrian 
philosophers and Theopompus, who 
considered^ rds TTOIOT^TOS as \l/t\as 
novas evvoias Siaxecw? AeyojueVas Kar* 
ov5e/utta$ VTrocrTdaecos, olov OLvOp(an6Trjra 

3 Compare Republic, v. p. 476 B. 
6 yiyvtacTKnyv yiyvttxricci rl T) ovSev ; Fiy- 
vctfcrjeet ri, &C. 

The folio wing passage in the learned 
work of Cudworth bears on the portion 
of the Parmenides which we are now 
considering. Cudworth, Treatise of 
Immutable Morality, pp. 243-245. 

"But if any one demand here, 
where this OIKCKJJTOS ovon'a, these im- 

mutable Entities do exist? I answer, 
first, that as they are considered for- 
mally, they do not properly exist in the 
Individuals without us, as if they were 
from them imprinted upon the Under- 
standing, which some have taken to 
be Aristotle's opinion ; because no 
Individual Material thing is either 
Universal or Immutable. . . . Because 
they perish not together with them, it 
is a certain argument that they exist 
independently upon them. Neither, in 
the next place, do they exist some- 
where else apart from the Individual 
Sensibles, and without the Mind, 
which is that opinion that Aristotle 
justly condemns, but either unjustly or 
unskilfully attributes to Plato. . . . 
Wherefore these Intelligible Ideas or 
Essences of Things, those Forms by 
which we understand all Things, exist 
nowhere but in the mind itself ; for it 
was very well determined long ago by 
Socrates, in Plato's Parmenides, that 
these things are nothing else but Noe- 
mata : * These Species or Ideas are 
all of them nothing but Noemata or 
Notions that exist nowhere but in the 
Soul itself'. . . . 

"And yet notwithstanding, though 
these Things exist only in the Mind, 
they are not therefore mere Figments 
of the Understanding. . . . 

" It is evident that though the Mind 


This reply, though scanty and undeveloped, is in my judgment 
both valid, as it negatives the Subject pure and simple, and 
affirms that to every conception in the mind, there must corre- 
spond a Concept out of (or rather along with) the mind (the one 
correlating with or implying the other) and correct as far as it 
goes, in declaring what that Concept is. Such Concept is, or 
may be, the Form. Parmenides does not show that it is not so. 
He proceeds to impugn, by a second argument, the assertion of 
Sokrates that the form is a Conception wholly within the mind : 
he goes on to argue that individual things (which are out of the 
rnind) cannot participate in these Forms (which are asserted to be 
altogether in the mind) : because, if that were admitted, either 
every such thing must be a Concipient, or must run into the 
contradiction of being a Conceptio non concipiens. 1 Now this 
argument may refute the affirmation of Sokrates literally taken,, 
that the Form is a Conception entirely belonging to the mind, 
And having nothing Objective corresponding to it but does not 
refute the doctrine that the Form is a Concept correlating with 
the mind or out of the mind as well as in it. In this as in 
other Concepts, the subjective point of view preponderates over 
the objective, though Object is not altogether eliminated : just 
as, in the particular external things, the objective point of view 
predominates, though Subject cannot be altogether dismissed. 
Neither Subject nor Object can ever entirely disappear : the one 
is the inseparable correlative and complement of the other : but 
sometimes the subjective point of view may preponderate, some- 
thinks of these Things at pleasure, yet is repeated by Sokrates in the Phsedon^ 
they are not arbitrarily framed by the Republic, and elsewhere, and never 
Mind, but have certain, determinate, refuted. 

and immutable Natures of their own, 1 On this point the argument in 
which are independent upon the Mind, the dialogue itself, as stated by Par- 
and which are blown (qusere not blown) menides, is not clear to follow. Strflm- 
away into Nothing at the pleasure of pell remarks on the terras employed 
the same Being that arbitrarily made by Plato. "Der Umstand, dass die 
them." Ausdriicke *So? und lfi'a nicht sowie 

It is an inadvertence on the part of A6vo? den Unterschied, zwischen Be- 
Cudworth to cite this passage of the griff und dem durch diesen begriffenen 
Parmenides as authenticating Plato's Realen, hervortreten lassen - sondern, 
opinion that Forms or Ideas existed weil dieselben bald im subjektivei* 
only in the mind. Certainly Sokrates Sinne den Begriff, bald ira objektiven 
is here made to express that opinion, Sinne das Reale bezeichnen bald in 
among others ; but the opinion is re- der einen bald in der andern Bedeu- 
futed by Parmenides and dropped by tung zu nehmen sindkann leicht 
Sokrates. But the very different opi- eirie Verwecbselung und Unklarheit 
nion, which Cudworth accuses Ari- in der Auffassung veranlassen," Ac. 
stotle of wrongly attributing to Plato, (Gesch. der Gr. Philos. a. 90, p. 115). 



times the objective. Such preponderance (or logical priority), 
either of the one or the other, may be implied or connoted by 
the denomination given. Though the special connotation of the 
name creates an illusion which makes the preponderant point of 
view seem to be all, and magnifies the Eelatum so as to eclipse 
and extinguish the Correlatum yet such preponderance, or 
logical priority, is all that is really meant when the Concepts are 
said to be "in the mind" and the Percepts (Percepta, things 
perceived) to be "out of the mind": for both Concepts and Per- 
cepts are "of the mind, or relative to the mind". 1 

The question What is the real and precise meaning attached 
Meaning of to abstract and general words'? has been debated 
^ml^eneral c * own to ^ is ^ a ^' an( * is st ^ under debate. It seems 
Terms, de- to have first derived its importance, if not its origin, 
ancient 131 ^ rom Sokrates, who began the practice of inviting 
times to the persons to define the familiar generalities of ethics 
Different and politics, and then tested by cross-examination the 
Plato and definitions given by men who thought that common 
Aristotle sense would enable any one to define. 2 But I see no 
upon i . ground for believing that Sokratcs ever put to himself 
the question Whether that which an abstract term denotes is a 
mental conception, or a separate and self-existent reality. That 
question was raised by Plato, and first stands clearly brought to 
view here in the Parmenides. 

If we follow up the opinion here delivered by the Platonic 
Sokrates, together with the first correction added to it by Par- 
menides, amounting to this That the Form is a Conception of 
the mind with its corresponding Concept : if, besides, we dismiss 
the doctrine held by Plato, that the Form is a separate self- 

i This preponderance of the Ob- Posterius, as the Posterius is relative 

jective point of view, though without to the Prius. Metaphys. r. 1010, b. 

altogether eliminating the Subjective, 36 seq. <xA\' eon <eal eVepov irapa t\v 

includes all that is true in the assertion atcrtfyo-ti/, & ai/ay^rj npfaepov elvat TTJ? 

of Aristotle, that the Perceptum is ai<r0ij<rews TO yap KI.VOVV rov Ktvovfievov 

prior to the Percipient the Percipien- <f>v<rei irp6repov eo-ri Kav el Ae'ye- 

dum prior to the Perceptionis Capax. rat rrpb? aAA>)Aa rawra, ovSev $TTOV. 

He assimilates the former to a Movens, See respecting the nporepov <frv<m, 

the latter to a Mot um. But he declares Aristot. Categor. p. 12, b. ( 5-15, and 

that he means not a priority in time or Metaphys. A. 1018, b. 12 d7r\ws al 

real existence, but simply a priority in TQ <f>vcrei irptrcpov. 

nature or logical priority ; and he also 2 A r : Q * / ,f i Mpf-atrfivq A Qffr h * 

declares the two to be relatives or M 1078 b 

reciproca. The Prius is relative to the M ' 10<s > Dl 


existent unchangeable Ens (/ irapa ra TroXXa) : there will then 
be no greater difficulty in understanding how it can be partaken 
by, or be at once in, many distinct particulars, than in under- 
standing (what is at bottom the same question) how one and the 
same attribute can belong at once to many different objects : how 
hardness or smoothness can be at once in an indefinite number of 
hard and smooth bodies dispersed everywhere. 1 The object and 
the attribute are both of them relative to the same percipient 
and concipient mind : we may perceive or conceive many objects 
as distinct individuals we may also conceive them all as re- 
sembling in a particular manner, making abstraction of the 
individuality of each : both these are psychological facts, and the 
latter of the two is what we mean when we say, that all of them 
possess or participate in one and the same attribute. The con- 
crete term, and its corresponding abstract, stand for the same 
facts of sense differently conceived. Now the word one, when 
applied to the attribute, has a different meaning from one when 
applied to an individual object. Plato speaks sometimes else- 
where as if he felt this diversity of meaning : not however in the 
Parmenides, though there is great demand for it. But Aristotle 
(in this respect far superior) takes much pains to point out that 

iThat "the attribute is in its sub- admits $IKOUOV n I8of aurb *a0' avr6, 

ject," is explained by Aristotle only by /cat aA.ov, *a! ayaOov, /cai TTXI/TWI/ r<av 

saying That it is in its subject, not as TOIOVTWI/. Sokrates answers without 

a part in the whole, yet as that which hesitation, Yen. Then Parmenides pro- 

cannot exist apart from its subject ceeda to ask, Bo yon recognise an eifios 

g'ategor. 1, a. 803, a. 30). Compare of man, separate and apart from all of 

obbes, Commit, or Logic, iii. 3, viii. 3. us individual men? or an e!8o<? of fire, 

Respecting the number of different water, and such like? Here Sokrates 

modes TOV ev nvi clvai, see Aristot. hesitates : he will neither admit nor 

Physic, iii. p. 210, a. 18 seq., with the deny it (130 D). The first list, which 

Scholia, p. 373 Brandis, and p. 446, Sokrates at once accepts, is of what 

10 Brana. The commentators made Aristotle would call accidents: the 

out, variously, nine, eleven, sixteen second, which Sokrates doubts about, 

distinct rp6irovs TOV ev rtvt eTj/cu. In is of what Aristotle would call second 

the language of Aristotle, genus, species, substances. We thus see that the con- 

tSos, and even differentia are not eV ception of a self-existent elfios realised 

viroKctftevy, but are predicated KO.O ' itself most easily and distinctly to the 

viroicei/uwVov (see Cat. p. 3, a. 20). The mind of Plato in the case of accidents, 

proprium and accidens alone are v He would, therefore, naturally conceive 

v7roKt/xev<f>. Here is a difference be- TO. ein as being iv vTroKct/ueVai, agree- 

tween his language and that of Plato, ing substantially, though not in terms, 

according to whom TO e*<5o? is ev Kd<rro> with Aristotle. It is in the case of 

rov iroAAwv (Parmenid. 131 A). But accidents or attributes that abstract 

we remark in that same dialogue, that names are most usually invented ; and 

when Parmenides questions Sokrates it is the abstract name, or the neuter 

whether he recognises tlfy avrd KO&' adjective used as its equivalent, which 

aura, he nrat asks whether Sokrates suggests the belief in an cZ3o . 




Unum Ens and the preposition In (to be in any thing) are 
Among the TroXXa^ws Xeyo^tei/a, having several different meanings 
derived from one primary or radical by diverse and distant 
ramifications. 1 The important logical distinction between Unum 
numero and Unum specie (or genere, &c.) belongs first to Aristotle. 2 
Plato has not followed out the hint which he has here put into 
*^ e mout h of Sokrates in the Parnienide's That the 
Ideas or Forms are conceptions existing only in the 
mind. Though the opinion thus stated is not strictly 
correct and is so pointed out by himself), as falling 
back too exclusively on the subjective yet if followed 
Stand partly out, it might have served to modify the too objective 
succeeded. an( j a |3 go i u t e character which in most dialogues (though 
not in the Sophistes) he ascribes to his Forms or Ideas : laying 
stress upon them as objects and as objects not of sensible per- 
ception but overlooking or disallowing the fact of their being 
relative to the concipient mind. The bent of Plato's philosophy 
was to dwell upon these Forms, and to bring them into har- 
monious conjunction with each other : he neither took pains, 
nor expected, to make them fit on to the world of sense. With 
Aristotle, on the contrary, this last-mentioned purpose is kept 
very generally in view. Amidst all the extreme abstractions 

Plato never 
expected to 
make his 
Ideas fit on 
to the facts 
of sense : 
tried to do 

i Aristotel. Metaphys. A. 1015-1016, 
I. 1052, a. 29 seq. TO. ^v 8r) OVTWS fy rj 
trvvexe* % ohov TO. 5e &v av 6 Adyos ety 
if TOtavra 5e &v w yorjcris yuu'a, &c. 

About abstract names, or the names 
of attributes, see Mr. John Stuart 
Mill's ' System of Logic,' i. 2, 4, p. 30, 
dit. 6th. "When only one attribute, 
neither variable in degree nor in kind, 
is designated by the name as visible- 
ness, tangibleness, equality, &c. 
though it denotes an attribute of many 
different objects, the attribute itself is 
always considered as one, not as many." 
Compare, also, on this point, p. 153, 
and a note added by Mr. Mill to the 
fifth edition, p. 203, in reply to Mr. 
Herbert Spencer. The oneness of the 
attribute, in different subjects, is not 
conceded by every one. Mr. Spencer 
thinks that the same abstract word 
denotes one attribute in Subject A, and 
another attribute, though exactly like 
it, in Subject B (Principles of Psycho- 
logy, p. 126 seq.) Mr. Mill's view 
appears the correct one; but the dis- 

tinction (pointed out by Archbishop 
Whately) between undi&tinguishable 
likeness and positive identity, becomes 
in these cases imperceptible or for- 

Aristotle, however, in the beginning 
of the Categories ranks^ 17 '$ ypafj.- 
/uaTtjoj as arofiov /cat ev a p t # /x cj? (pp. 
1, C, 8), which I do not understand ; 
and it seems opposed to another pas- 
sage, pp. 3, 6, 15. 

The argument between two such 
able thinkers as Mr. Mill and Mr. 
Spencer, illustrates forcibly the ex- 
treme nicety of this question respecting 
the One and the Many, under certain 
supposable circumstances. We cannot 
be surprised that it nuzzled the dialec- 
ticians of the Platonic Aristotelian age, 
who fastened by preference on points 
of metaphysical difficulty. 

2 See interesting remarks on the 
application of this logical distinction 
in Galen, Do Methodo Medendi, Book 
iii. vol. x. p. ISO seq. Aristotle and 
Theophrastus both dwelt upon it. 


which he handles, he reverts often to the comparison of them 
with sensible particulars : indeed Substantia Prima was by him, 
for the first time in the history of philosophy, brought down to 
designate the concrete particular object of sense : in Plato's 
Phaedon, Republic, &c., the only Substances are the Forms or 

Parmenides now continues the debate. He has already fastened 
upon Sokrates several difficult problems : he now continua- 
proposes a new one, different and worse. Which way tion of the 
are we to turn then, if these Forms be beyond our Parmenfd 

knowledge ? I do not see my way (says Sokrates) out 
of the perplexity. The fact is, Sokrates (replies Par- that he has 
menides), you have been too forward in producing mature in 
your doctrine of Ideas, without a sufficient preli- ^^ne g & 
minary exercise and enquiry. Your love of philo- without' 
sophical research is highly praiseworthy : but you preliminary 
must employ your youth in exercising and improving exercise - 
yourself, through that continued philosophical discourse which 
the vulgar call useless prosing : otherwise you will never attain 
truth. 1 You are however right in bestowing your attention, not 
on the objects of sense, but on those objects which we can best 
grasp in discussion, and which we presume to exist as Forms. 2 

What sort of exercise must I go through? asks Sokrates. 
Zeno (replies Parmenides) has already given you a- 
good specimen of it in his treatise, when he followed of exercise ? 
out the consequences flowing from the assumption dSnJe^ 8 
"That the self-existent and absolute Ens is plural". To assume 
When you are trying to find out the truth on any ^boththe" 
question, you must assume provisionally, first the amuSf 
affirmative and then the negative, and you must then negative 
follow out patiently the consequences deducible from hypotheses 
one hypothesis as well as from the other. If you are J*JJJ* ^ e 
enquiring about the Form of Likeness, whether it rai terms, 
exists or does not exist, you must assume successively and to trace 

1 Plato, Parmenid. p. 135 C. Ilpy <M aravrbv KCU yvfivaarcu /x,ciAAoi> Slot rrfc 
yap, irp\v yv/uj/atr0)i>ai, w Sw/cpare?, SOKOVOTJS nxp^orrov eli/at Koi. icaXov- 
opt<(e<rdat ^Tri^ei/set? Ka\6v re n K<H fji4vr)$ vtrb rStv iro\\)v afloAecrxtay, ?a>? 



Kai ayaOov Kal $v tKavrov rtav en ve'os et* el Sf /UT;, <rk fiiou^ev^erat 
tv . . . KaAT) M^ ouyKou0et'a,eu !cr0i, a\i?0ta. 
i) bpfjLi) yv bpn$$ tiri TOV^ Adyovs cA/evcrov 2 Plato, Parmenid. p. 135 E. 


* uences S6 f ^^ ne an< ^ ^ ie ot ^ er l mai> king the deductions 
each. which follow, both with reference to the thing 

directly assumed, and with reference to other things also. You 
must do the like if you are investigating other Forms Unlike- 
ness, Motion, and Rest, or even Existence and Non-Existence. 
But you must not be content with following out only one side of 
the hypothesis : you must examine both sides with equal care 
and impartiality. This is the only sort of preparatory exercise 
which will qualify you for completely seeing' through the truth. 2 

You propose to me, Parmenides (remarks Sokrates), a work of 
Impossible awful magnitude. At any rate, show me an example 
beforea 18 ^ ^ yourself, that I may know better how to begin. 
numerous Parmenides at first declines, on the ground of his 
Parmenides old a g e : ^u.t Zeno and the others urge him, so that 
to^hrea* 6 * ^ e a ^ l en S*h consents. The process will be tedious 
specimen (observes Zeno) ; and I would not ask it from Par- 
i^iicitSfon menides unless among an audience small and select as 
he agrees. we are \ lQIQt Before any numerous audience, it would 
be an unseemly performance for a veteran like him. For most 
people are not aware that, without such discursive survey and 
travelling over the whole field, we cannot possibly attain truth 
or acquire intelligence. 3 

It is especially on this ground the small number and select 
Parmenides character of the auditors that Parmenides suffers 
elects his himself to be persuaded to undertake what he calls 
oTthe UnvJn, " amusing ourselves with a laborious pastime ".* He 

se l ec H as the subject of his dialectical exhibition, his 
tion Ari- own doctrine respecting the One. He proceeds to 

i Plato, Parmenid. ^p. 136 A. *al marks (Computatio sive Logica, i. 3, 

<x50t? a$ eav vTroO-fi, el Icrnv 6/u.oi<$Ti7s 17 12): "Learners ought to go through 

el j*ij ecm, rt <f>' cKare'pas rrjs vnoQe- logical exercises silently and by them- 

o-ews <rvu|3)7<reTeu, KCU aurois rots UTTOTC- selves : for it will be thought both 

0icri /cat TOIS dXXots /cat irpbs avra icat ridiculous and absurd, for a man to 

yjAa. use such language publicly ". Proklus 

^ -PoT-m^^ T?An tells us, that the difficulty of the 

o, Parmenid. p. 136 B. y v/lt va<ria, here set out by the Platonic 

8 Plato, Parmenid. p. 136 D. ei /mei> Parmenides, is so prodigious, that no 

o$v irXei'ous $nev t OVK. av atov ty 8et<r- one after Plato employed it. (Prok. 

Ocu> airpeirr} yap TO. rotavra ad Parmen. p. 801, Stallb.) 

w o X \ w v e v a. v 7 -i o v A/e y e t v, aA- 4 Plato, Parmenid. p. 137 A. fiet yap- 

A(i>9 re KO.I r>jA.t/covTa> ayvooucrt yap 01 x a P l ^ ecr ^ al > eTreifiij KCU & Z-fjvtav Ae-yei, 

iroAAol on aveu raurtj? rrjs Sid iravrcav avTOteo - /iAv . . . r) /3ovAe<r0e efret- 

8iei-68ov KCU wAdvij?, a&vvarov evr\)\6vra. 8r)irep SOKI irpay/maretMSi) wat- 

rif a\y)0el vovv trx^v. Hobbes re- 8101* iraigftv, &c. 


trace out the consequences wliicli flow, first, from stotelesbe- 
assuming the affirmative thesis, Unum Est : next, spondent. 
from assuming the negative thesis, or the Antithesis, Unum non 
Est. The consequences are to be deduced from each hypothesis, 
not only as regards Unum itself, but as regards Ccetera, or other 
things besides Unum. The youngest man of the party, Ari- 
stoteles, undertakes the duty of respondent. 

The remaining portion of the dialogue, half of the whole, is 
occupied with nine distinct deductions or demonstra- Exhibition 
tions given by Parinenides. The first five start from of Parme- 
the assumption, Unum Est: the last four from the distinct de- e 
assumption, Unum non Est. The three first draw out Auctions or 
i c -rt -r-r Demonstra- 

the deductions from Unum Est, in reference to Unum: tions, first 

the fourth and fifth draw out the consequences from ^nSr 
the same premiss, in reference to Ccetera. Again, the from Unum 
sixth and seventh start from Unum non Est, to trace 
what follows in regard to Unum : the eighth and ninth adopt the 
same hypothesis, and reason it out in reference to Ccetera. 

Ot these demonstrations, one characteristic feature is, that 
they are presented in antagonising pairs or Antino- xheDemon- 
mies : except the third, which professes to mediate strationa in 
between the first and second, though only by intro- " 

ducing new difficulties. We have four distinct Anti- 
nomies : the first and second, the fourth and fifth, the plexing en- 
sixth and seventh, the eighth and ninth, stand respec- 
tively in emphatic contradiction with each other. 
Moreover, to take the demonstrations separately the expiana- 
first, fifth, seventh, ninth, end in conclusions purely 
negative : the other four end in double and contradictory conclu- 
sions. The purpose is formally proclaimed, of showing that the 
same premisses, ingeniously handled, can be made to yield these 
contradictory results. 1 No attempt is made to reconcile the 
contradictions, except partially by means of the third, in refer- 
ence to the two preceding. In regard to the fourth and fifth,, 
sixth and seventh, eighth and ninth, no hint is given that they 

i See the connecting words between $v tl t<m.v, 8. pa KO.I ov\ ovrwc 

the first and second demonstration, pp. evci T a A A a rov i/b$ fj ovrw 

142 A, 159. OVKOVV ravra. /u,ei/ TJ^TJ /u 6 v o v ; Also p. 163 B. 

eta/ney at; </>avepa, CTTio'Komo/u.ev 6 rraAiv, v 



can be, or afterwards will "be, reconciled. The dialogue con- 
cludes abruptly at the end of the ninth demonstration, with these 
words : " We thus see that whether Unum exists or does not 
exist Unum and Coetera both are, and are not, all things in 
every way both appear, and do not appear, all things in 
every way each in relation to itself, and each in relation to the 
other". 1 Here is an unqualified and even startling announce- 
ment of double and contradictory conclusions, obtained from the 
same premisses both affirmative and negative : an announcement 
delivered too as the fulfilment of the purpose of Parmenides. 
Nothing is said at the end to intimate how the demonstrations 
are received by Sokrates, nor what lesson they are expected to 
administer to him : not a word of assent, or dissent, or surprise, 
or acknowledgment in any way, from the assembled company, 
though all of them had joined in entreating Parmenides, and 
had expressed the greatest anxiety to hear his dialectic exhibi- 
tion. Those who think that an abrupt close, or an abrupt 
exordium, is sufficient reason for declaring a dialogue not to be 
the work of Plato (as Platonic critics often argue), are of course 
consistent in disallowing the Parmenides. For my part, I do 
not agree in the opinion. I take Plato as I find him, and I per- 
ceive both here and in the Protagoras and elsewhere, that he did 
not always think it incumbent upon him to adapt the end of his 
dialogues to the beginning. This may be called a defect, but I 
do not feel called upon to make out that Plato's writings are free 
from defects ; and to acknowledge nothing as his work unless I 
can show it to be faultless. 

The demonstrations or Antinomies in the last half of the Par- 
Different menides are characterised by K. F. Hermann and 
o" ( fe e onfc otners as a masterpiece of speculative acuteness. Yet 
critics re- if these same demonstrations, constructed with care 
Antinomies and labour for the purpose of proving that the same 
dialogue premisses will conduct to double and contradictory 
generally. conclusions, had come down to us from antiquity 
under the name either of the Megaric Eukleides, or Protagoras, 
or Gorgias many of the Platonic critics would probably have 

1 PlatOj Parmenid. ad fin. Eipqvdc* raAAa icat n-pbf aura ical irpJ>? aX 
roiwv TOVTO re KCU on, ws coiicey, If iravra iravruts e<rri re KOU OVK eon 
IT* Icrrtv eZre /AIJ eariy, OVTO re ai ^ati/erat T KCU ov ^atVcrat, 


said of them (what is now said of the sceptical treatise remaining 
to us under the name of Gorgias) that they were poor produc- 
tions worthy of such Sophists, who are declared to have made a 
trade of perverting truth. Certainly the conclusions of the 
demonstrations are specimens of that " Both and Neither," which 
Plato (in the Euthydemus 1 ) puts into the mouth of the Sophist 
Dionysodorus as an answer of slashing defiance and of that 
intentional evolution of contradictions which Plato occasionally 
discountenances, both in the Euthydemus and elsewhere. 2 And 
we know from Proklus 3 that there were critics in ancient times, 
who depreciated various parts of the Parmenidea as sophistical. 
Proklus himself denies the charge with some warmth. He as 
well as the principal Neo-Platonists between 200-530 A.D. (espe- 
cially his predecessors and instructors at Athens, JamblichuH, 
Syrianus, and Plutarchus) admired the Parmenides as a splendid 
effort of philosophical genius in its most exalted range, inspired 
so as to become cognizant of superhuman persons and agencies. 
They all agreed so far as to discover in the dialogue a sublime 
vein of mystic theology and symbolism : but along with this 
general agreement, there was much discrepancy in their interpre- 
tation of particular parts and passages. The commentary of 
Proklus attests the existence of such debates, reporting his own 
dissent from the interpretations sanctioned by his venerated 
masters, Plutarchus arid Syrianus. That commentary, in spite of 
its prolixity, is curious to read as a specimen of the fifth century, 
A.D., in one of its most eminent representatives. Proklus dis- 
covers a string of theological symbols and a mystical meaning 
throughout the whole dialogue : not merely in the acute argu- 
mentation which characterises its middle part, but also in the 
perplexing antinomies of its close, and even in the dramatic 

1 Plato, Euthydem. p. 800 C. *AAA* ravr6v t rcu rb M*ya o>uKpoV, icai TO 
ov TOVTO epa>Tu>, aAAa TCL iravra o-iyf ^ ofuuoc avofjiotov, teal xaipeiv ovrai rav- 
Ayet; Ov 8 ere pa <eat o/*4>6repa, avria ai rrpaQepovra. tv rot? Aoyotf, 
^17 v^apwacrav 6 Atopv<r<<opo$* # yip ov r4 ns e\yxoy otros a\r]9tv69 t apri 
oT5a on. r|7 atroKpiarei ovx fS o, rt. XPJ7- Te r ^ v ovru>v rivbf c^tatrrojuieVov SrjXo? 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 259 B. tire <as t/eoyei^c tav. 

rt xa\evbv Karavei/oTjKw? xo'P* 4 . TOT < 3 Proklas, ad Platon. Parmen. p. 

eirl J&drepa. TOT* B' fcri dartpa. TOW* 953, ed. Stallb. ; compare p. 976 in the 

. . . . 

Xoyovs eAjewi', OVK o^ta woAAn* ffiroy&y* last book of the commentary, probably 

o-trovAWi/, o>s ol vvv Aoyoi fauriv. c^)rnposed by Damaakius. K. F. Her- 

Also p 259 D. To 5e ravrbv ertpov iriann, Geschichte und System der 

airo^Kiivftv a^,j y< v<Q t icai TO Qarepov Platon. PhlloB. p. 507. 




details of places, persons, and incidents, with which it be- 
gins. 1 

The various explanations of it given by more recent com- 
mentators may be seen enumerated in the learned Prolegomena. 
of Stallbaum, 2 who has also set forth his own views at consider- 
able length. And the prodigious opposition between the views 

1 This commentary is annexed to 
Stallbaum's edition 01 the Parmenides. 
Compare also the opinion of Marinus 
(disciple and biographer of Pioklus) 
about the Parmeiiidea Suidas v. Ma- 
plvos. Jamblichus declared that Plato's 
entire theory of philosophy was em- 
bodied in the two dialogues, Parme- 
nides and Tifflfieus : in the Parmunides, 
all the intelligible or universal Entia 
were deduced from TO ev : in the 11- 
mams, all cosmical realities were de- 
duced from the Demiurgus. Proklus 
ad Tiniseum, p. 5 A, p. 10 Schnei- 

Alkinous, in his Introduction to the 
Platonic Dialogues (c. 6, p. 159, in the 
Appendix Platonica attached to K. F. 
Hermann's edition of Plato) quotes 
several examples of syllogistic reason- 
ing from the Parmenides, and affirms 
that the ten categories of Aristotle are 
exhibited therein. 

Plotinus(Ennead. v. 1, 8) gives a brief 
summary of what he understood to be 
contained in the Antinomies of the Pla- 
tonic Parmonides ; but the interpreta- 
tion departs widely from the original. 

I transcribe a few sentences from 
the argument of Ficinus, to show what 
different meanings may be discovered 
in the same words by different critics. 
(Ficini Argum. in Plat. Parmen. p. 
756.) "Cum Plato per omnes ejus dia- 
logos totius sapiential semina sparserit, 
in libris De Republic^ cuncta moralis 
philosophise instituta collegit, omnem 
naturahum rerum scientiam in Timaeo, 
universam in Parrnenide complexus est 
Theologiam Cumque in aliis longo 
intervallo cseteros philosophos ante- 
cesserit, in hoc tandem seipsum supe- 
rasse videtur. Hie enim divus Plato 
de ipso Uno subtilisshn6 disputat : 
queraadznodum Ipsum Unum rerum 
omnium principium est, super omnia, 
omniaque ab illo : quo pacto ipsum 
extra omnia sit et in omnibus : omnia- 
que ex illo, per illud, atque ad illud. 
Ad hujus, quod super essentiam est, 
TJ nius intelligentiam gradatim ascendit. 
In iis quse nuunt et sensibus subjici- 
untur et sensibilia noruinantur : In iis 

etiam qufe semper eadern sunt et sensi- 
bilia uuncupantur, non sensibus ain- 
plius sed sol& inente percipienda : Nee 
in iis tantum, verum etiam supra 
sensum et sensibilia, intellectumque 
et intelligibilia : ipsum Unum existit. 
Illud insuper advertenduin est, quod 
in hoc dialogo cum dicitur Unnm, 
Pythagoreorum more quroque substan- 
tia a materia penitus absoluta signi- 
ficari potest : ut Deus, Mens, Anima. 
Cum yero dicitur Aliud et Alia, tarn 
materia, quam ilia quae in materia fiunt, 
intelligere licet." 

The Prolegomena, prefixed by Thom- 
son to his edition of the Parmenides, 
interpret the dialogue in the same 
general way as Proklus and Ficinus: 
they suppose that by Unum is under- 
stood Sumrnus Deus, and they discover 
in the concluding Antinomies theo- 
logical demonstrations of the unity, 
simplicity, and other attributes of God. 
Thomson observes, very justly, that 
the Parmenides is one of the most 
difficult dialogues in Plato (Prolegom. 
iv.-x.) But in my judgment, his mode 
of exposition, far from smoothing the 
difficulties, adds new ones greater than 
those in the text. 

2 Stallbaum, Prolegg. in Parraen. ii. 
1, pp. 244-265. Compare K. F. Her- 
mann, Gesch. und Syst. der Platon. 
Phil. pp. 507-668-670. 

To the works which he has there 
enumerated, may be added the Dis- 
sertation by Dr. Kuno Fischer, Stutt- 
gart, 1851, De Parmenide Platonico, 
and that of Zeller. Platonische Studien, 

Kuno Fischer (pp. 102-103) after 
Hegel (Gesch. der Griech. PhiL i. p. 
202), and some of the followers of 
Hegel, extol the Parmenides as a 
masterpiece of dialectics, though they 
complain that " der philosophirende 
Pdbel " misunderstand it t and treat it 
as obscure. Werder, Logik, pp. 92-176, 
Berlin, 1841. Carl Beck, Platen's Phi- 
losophie im Abriss ihrer genetischen 
Entwickelung, p. 76, Beuthngen, 1852. 
Marbach, Gesch. der Griech. PhiL. 
sect 96, pp. 210-211. 




of Proklus (followed by Ficinus in the fifteenth century), who 
-extols the Parmenides as including in mystic phraseology 
sublime religious truths and those of the modern Tiedeniann, 
who despises them as foolish subtleties and cannot read them 
with patience is quite sufficient to inspire a reasonable Platonic 
critic with genuine diffidence. 

In so far as these different expositions profess, each in its own 
way, to detect a positive dogmatical result or purpose No C | 0gnia . 
in the Parmenides, 1 none of them carry conviction to ti cal >lu- 
my mind, any more than the mystical interpretations purpose is 


1 1 agree with Schleiermacher, in 
considering that the purpose of the 
Parmenides is nothing beyond yvfj-vacria, 
or exercise in the method and per- 

lexities of philosophising (Einl. p. 

3) : but I do not agree with him, when 
he says (pp. 90-105) that the objections 
urged by Parmenides (in the middle 
of the dialogue) against the separate 
substantiality of Forms or Ideas, though 
noway answered in the dialogue itself, 
are sufficiently answered in other 
dialogues (which he considers later 
in time), especially in the Sophistes 
{though, according to Brandis, Handb. 
Gr.-Rdm. Phil. p. 241, the Sophistes is 
earlier than the Parmenides). Zeller, 
on the other hand, denies that these 
objections are at all answered in the 
Sophistes ; but he maintains that the 
second part of the Parmenides itself 
clears up the difficulties propounded in 
the first part. After an elaborate ana- 
lysis (in the Platon. Studien, pp. 168- 
178) of the Antinomies or contradictory 
Demonstrations in the concluding part 
of the dialogue, Zeller affirms the pur- 
pose of them to be "die richtige An- 
sicht von den Ideen als der Einheit in 
dem Mannichfaltigen der Erscheinung 
dialektisch zu begrttnden, die Ideen- 
lehre moglichen Einwtirfen und Miss- 
verstandnissen gegenuber dialektisch 
zu begrunden " (pp. 180-182). This solu- 
tion has found favour with some sub- 
sequent commentators. See Susemihl, 
Die genetische Entwickelung der 
Platon. Philosophic, pp. 341-358 ; 
Heinrich Stein, Vorgescnichte und 
System des Platonismus, pp. 217- 

To me it appears (what Zeller him- 
self remarks in p. 188, upon the dis- 
covery of Schleiermacher that the 
objections started in the Parmenides 
are answered in the Soithistes) that it 

requires all the acuteness of so able a 
writer as Zeller to detect any such 
result as that which he here extracts 
from the Parmeni clean Antinomies 
from what Aristeides calls (Or. xlvii. 

&, 430) " the One and Many, the mul- 
plied twists and doublings, of this 
divine dialogue ". I confess that I am 
unable to perceive therein what Zeller 
has either found or elicited. Objec- 
tions and misunderstandings (Ein- 
wiirfe und MissverstandnisHe'), far from 
being obviated or corrected, are ac- 
cumulated from the beginning to the 
end of these Antinomies, and are 
summed up in a formidable total by 
the final sentence of the dialogue. 
Moreover, none of these objections 
which Parmenides had advanced in 
the earlier part of the dialogue are at 
all noticed, much less answered, in the 
concluding Antinomies. 

The general view taken by Zeller of 
the Platonic Parmenides, is repeated 
by him in his Phil, der Griech. vol. ii. 
pp. 394-415-429, ed. 2nd. In the first 
place, I do not think that he sets forth 
exactly (see p. 415) the reasoning as we 
read it in Plato ; but even if that were 
exactly set forth, still what we read in 
Plato is nothing but an assemblage of 
difficulties and contradictions. Tnese 
are indeed suggestive, and such as a 
profound critic may meditate with care, 
until he finds himself put upon a train 
of thought conducting him to conclu- 
sions sound and tenable in his iudg- 
nieiit. But the explanations, sufficient 
or not, belong after all not to Plato but 
to the critic himself. Other critics 
may attach, and have attached, totally 
different explanations to the same difff- 
culties. I see no adequate evidence to 
bring home any one of them to Plato ; 
or to prove (what is the main point to 
be determined) that any one of them 




We read in Proklus * If Plato tad a 
logue. The purpose, he makes no intimation of it, directly or 
indirectly. On the contrary, he announces another 
P ur P ose not on ty different, but contrary. The veteran 
Parmenides, while praising the ardour of speculative 
research displayed by Sokrates, at the same time re- 
proves gently, but distinctly, the confident forward- 
ness of two such immature youths as Sokrates and Aristotle in 
laying down positive doctrines without the preliminary exercise 
indispensable for testing them. 1 Parmenides appears from the 
beginning to the end of the dialogue as a propounder of doubts 
and objections, not as a doctrinal teacher. He seeks to restrain 
the haste of Sokrates to make him ashamed of premature affir- 

feel all the 

of if theo- ies 

was present to his mind when he com- 
posed the dialogue. 

Schwegler also gives an account of 
what he affirms to bo the purpose and 
meaning of the Parmenides " The 
positive meaning of the antinomies 
contained in it can only be obtained by 
inferences which Plato does not himself 
expressly enunciate, but leaves to the 
reader to draw" (Geschichto der Philo- 
sophic im Umriss, sect. 14, 4 c. pp. 52- 
53, ed. 6). 

A learned man like Schwegler, who 
both knows the views of other philo- 
sophers, and has himself reflected on 
philosophy, may perhaps find affirma- 
tive meaning in the Parmenides ; just 
as Sokrates, in the Platonic Protagoras, 
finds his own ethical doctrine in the 
song of the poet Simonides. But I 
venture to say that no contemporary 
reader of Plato could have found sucn 
a meaning in the Parmenides ; and 
that if Plato intended to communicate 
such a meaning, the whole structure of 
the dialogue would be only an elaborate 
puzzle calculated to prevent nearly all 
readers from reaching it. 

By assigning the leadership of the 
dialogue to Parmenides (Schwegler 
says) Plato intends to signify that the 
Platonic doctrine of Ideas is coincident 
with the doctrine of Parmenides, and 
is only a farther development thereof. 
How can this be signified, when the 
discourse assigned to Parmenides con- 
sists of a string of objections against 
the doctrine of Ideas, concluding with 
an intimation that there are other 
objections, yet stronger, remaining be- 

The fundamental thought of the 

Parmenides (says Schwegler) is, that 
the One is not conceivable in complete 
abstraction from the Many, nor the 
Many in complete abstraction from the 
One, that each reciprocally supposes 
and serves as condition to the other. 
Not so : for if we follow the argumenta- 
tion of Parmenides (p. 131 E), we shall 
see that what he principally insists 
upon, is the entire impossibility of any 
connection or participation between 
the One and the Many there is an 
impassable gulf between them. 

Is the discussion of TO eV (in the 
closing Antinomies) intended as an 
example of dialectic investigation or 
is it per se the special object of the 
dialogue? This last is clearly the 
truth (says Schwegler}, " otherwise the 
dialogue would end without result, and 
its two portions would be without any 
internal connection ". Not so ; for if 
we read the dialogue, we find Par- 
menides clearly proclaiming and sing, 
ling out rb $v as only one among a 
great many different notions, each of 
which must be made the subject of a 
bilateral hypothesis, to be followed out 
into its consequences on both sides 
(p. 136 A). Moreover, I think that 
the "internal connection" between the 
first and the last half of the dia- 
logue, consists in the application of 
this dialectic method, and in nothing 
else. If the dialogue ends without 
result, this is true of many other 
Platonic dialogues. The student is 
brought face to face with logical diffi- 
culties, and has to find out the solu- 
tion for himself ; or perhaps to find out 
that no solution can be obtained. 

i Plato, Parmenid. p. 135 C. 


mation and the false persuasion of knowledge to force upon 
him a keen sense of real difficulties which have escaped his- 
notice. To this end, a specimen is given of the exercise required. 
It is certainly well calculated to produce the effect intended of 
hampering, perplexing, and putting to shame, the affirmative 
rashness of a novice in philosophy. It exhibits a tangled skein 
of ingenious contradiction which the novice must somehow bring 
into order, before he is in condition to proclaim any positive 
dogma. If it answers this purpose, it does all that Parmenides- 
promises. Sokrates is warned against attaching himself exclu- 
sively to one side of an hypothesis, and neglecting the opposite : 
against surrendering himself to some pre-conception, traditional,, 
or self-originated, and familiarising his mind with its conse- 
quences, while no pains are taken to study the consequences of 
the negative side, and bring them into comparison. It is this- 
one-sided mental activity, and premature finality of assertion, 
which Parmeiiides seeks to correct. Whether the corrective 
exercises which he prescribes are the best for the purpose, may 
be contested : but assuredly the malady which he seeks to correct 
is deeply rooted in our human nature, and is combated by So- 
krates himself, though by other means, in several of the Platonic 
dialogues. It is a rare mental endowment to study both sides of 
a question, and suspend decision until the consequences of each 
are fully known. 

Such, in my judgment, is the drift of the contradictory demon- 
strations here put into the mouth of Parmenides re- _.. 
specting Unum and Csetera. Thus far at least, we tive purpose 
are perfectly safe : for we are conforming strictly to annouiSf 

the language of Plato himself in the dialogue : we Jy pl a* A 

<*ii i mi himself. All 

have no proof that he meant anything more. Those dogmatical 

who presume that he must have had some ulterior fending 

dogmatical purpose, place themselves upon hypotheti- farther, is 
cal ground : but when they go farther and attempt to pothetical, 

set forth what this purpose was, they show their in- cons?stent n " 

genuity only by bringing out what they themselves with what is 
have dropped in. The number of discordant hypo- ^ are ' 

theses attests 1 the difficulty of the problem. I agree with those 

i Proklus ad Platon. Pannenu i. pp. copious upon the subject of exercise in 

, . < M dialectic method. 

Stallbaum, after reciting many dii- 

i Proklus ad Platon. Parmen. i. pp. 
482-485, ed. Stallb. ; compare pp. 497- 
498-788-791, where Proklus is himself 


early Platonic commentators (mentioned and opposed by Proklus) 
who could see no other purpose in these demonstrations than 
that of dialectical exercise. In this view Schleiermacher, Ast, 
Striimpell, and others mainly concur : the two former however 
annexing to it a farther hypothesis which I think improbable 
that the dialogue has come to us incomplete ; having once con- 
tained at the end (or having been originally destined to contain, 
though the intention may never have been realised) an appendix 
elucidating the perplexities of the demonstrations. 1 This would 
have been inconsistent with the purpose declared by Parmenidea : 
who, far from desiring to facilitate the onward march of Sokrates 
by clearing up difficulties, admonishes him that he is advancing 
too rapidly, and seeks to keep him back by giving him a heap of 
manifest contradictions to disentangle. Plato conceives the 
training for philosophy or for the highest exercise of intellectual 
force, to be not less laborious than that which was required for 
the bodily perfections of an Olympic athlete. The student must 
not be helped out of difficulties at once : he must work his own 
way slowly out of them. 

That the demonstrations include assumption both unwarranted 
The Demon- an( ^ contradictory, mingled with sophistical subtlety 
strations or (in the modern sense of the words), is admitted bv 
Antinomies , ,1 . . -i T ,1 i ,1 , -, 

considered, most oi the commentators : and I think that the real 

hoc libro opiniones. Quid igitur ? zum Parmen. pp. 94-99 ; Strunipell, 

verusne fui, quum supn\ dicerem, tan- Geschichte der Theoretischtm Philo- 

tam fuisse hominnm eruditorum in eo sophie der Griechen, sect. 96, pp. 128- 

explicando fluctuation em atque dis- 129. 

sensionem, ut quamvis plurimi de eo I do not agree with Socher's con- 

disputaverint, tamen fer6 alius aliter elusion, that the Parmenides is not a 

judicaverit? Nimiram his omnibus Platonic composition. But I think he 

cognitis, faci!6 alicui in mentem veniat is quite right in saying that the dia- 

Terentianum illud Fecisti prop&, multo logue as it now stands performs all that 

rim quam dudum incertior." Parmenides promises, and leaves no 

Brandis (Handbuch Gr.-Rftm. Phil, ground for contending that it is an 

s. 105, pp. 257-258) cannot bring him- unfinished fragment (Socher, -Ueber 

self to believe that dialectical exercise Platon's Schriften, p. 286), so far as 

was the only purpose with which Plato philosophical speculation is concerned, 

composed the Parmenides. He then The dialogue as a dramatic or literary 

proceeds to state what Plato's ulterior composition undoubtedly lacks a proper 

purpose was, but in such very vague close ; it is an-ovs or /coAo/36? (Aristot. 

language, that I hardly understand Rhetor, iii. 8), sinning against the 

what he means, much less can I find it strict exigence which Plato in the 

in the Antinomies themselves. He has Phrrnlrus applies to the discourse of 

some clearer language, p. 241, where Lysias. 


amount of it is greater than they admit How far rf ^? i * l ~ 

Plato was himself aware of this, I will not undertake unwar- 

to say. Perhaps he was not. The reasonings which Smption" 

have passed for sublime and profound in the estima- a . n J sub ,; . 

n T 11 i T i tlety. Col- 

tion of so many readers, may well have appeared the lection of 

same to their author. I have already remarked that perplexes* 
Plato's ratiocinative force is much greater on the orairopuu. 
negative side than on the positive : more ingenious in suggesting 
logical difficulties than sagacious in solving them. Impressed, as 
Sokrates had been before him, with the duty of combating the 
false persuasion of knowledge, or premature and untested belief, 
he undertook to set forth the pleadings of negation in the most 
forcible manner. Many of his dialogues manifest this tendency, 
but the Parmenides more than any other. That dialogue is a 
collection of unexplained ajroplai (such as those enumerated in 
the second book of Aristotle's Metaphysica) brought against a 
doctrine which yet Plato declares to be the indispensable condi- 
tion of all reasoning. It concludes with a string of demonstra- 
tions by which contradictory conclusions (Both and Neither) are 
successively proved, and which appear like a reductio ad alsurdum 
of all demonstration. But at the time when Plato composed the 
dialogue, I think it not improbable that these difficulties and 
contradictions appeared even to himself unanswerable : in other 
words, that he did not himself see any answers and explanations 
of them. He had tied a knot so complicated, that he could not 
himself untie it. I speak of the Rtate of Plato's mind when he 
wrote the Parmenides. At the dates of other dialogues (whether 
earlier or later), he wrote under different points of view ; but no 
key to the Parmenides does he ever furnish. 

If however we suppose that Plato must have had the key 
present to his own mind, he might still think it right Kven if 
to employ, in such a dialogue, reasonings recognised Plato him- 
by himself as defective. It is the task imposed upon through 
Sokrates to find out and expose these defective links, tlltles Jie 
There is no better way of illustrating how universal might 'still 
is the malady of human intelligence unexamined impose and 
belief and over-confident aflirmation as it stands SfficSfiie? 
proclaimed to be in the Platonic Apology. Sokrates in the way 
is exhibited in the Parmenides as placed ' under the affirmative 
screw of the Elenchus, and no more able than others a8 P ira fc - 



to extricate himself from it, when it is applied by Parmenides : 
though he bears up successfully against Zeno, and attracts to 
himself respectful compliments, even from the aged dialectician 
who tests him. After the Elenchus applied to himself, Sokrates. 
receives a farther lesson from the " Neither and Both " demon- 
strations addressed by Parmenides to the still younger Aristotle. 
Sokrates will thus be driven, with his indefatigable ardour for 
speculative research, to work at the problem to devote to it- 
those seasons of concentrated meditation, which sometimes ex- 
hibited him fixed for hours in the same place and almost in the 
same attitude 1 until he can extricate himself from such diffi- 
culties and contradictions. But that he shall not extricate him- 
self without arduous mental effort, is the express intention of 
Parmenides : just as the Xenophontic Sokrates proceeds with the 
youthful Euthydemus and the Platonic Sokrates with Lysis, 
Theaetetus, and others. Plausible subtlety was not unsuitable 
for such a lesson. 2 Moreover, in the Parmenides, Plato proclaims 
explicitly that the essential condition of the lesson is to be 
strictly private : that a process so roundabout and tortuous 
cannot be appreciated by ordinary persons, and would be un- 
seemly before an audience. 3 He selects as respondent the 
youngest person in the company, one still younger than So- 
krates : because (he says) such a person will reply with artless 
simplicity, to each question as the question may strike him not 
carrying his mind forward to the ulterior questions for which 
his reply may furnish the handle not afraid of being entangled 
in puzzling inconsistencies not solicitous to baffle the purpose of 

1 Plato, Symposion, p. 220 C-D : silently and by themselves : for it 

compare pp. 174-175. will be thought both ridiculous and 

In the dialogue Parmenides (p. absurd, for a man to use such lan- 

130 E), Parmenides himself is in- guage publicly ". 

troduced as predicting that the youth- Proklus tells us, that the difficulty 

ful Sokrates will become more and of the yvfivaaia here enjoined by the 

more absorbed in philosophy as he Platonic Parmenides is so prodigious, 

advances in years. that no one after Plato employed it 

Proklus observes in his commentary (Prokl. ad Parmenid. p. 306, p. 801, 

on the dialogue 6 yap SwKpamjs ay a- Stallb.). 

ran ras airopias, &C. (L. v. p. 252). ei p.iv o$v n-Xciovs ^ev, ov* ai> aftoi/ 

Xanoph. Memo, iv. 2, ad fin. %S^^*' a , TtS 

3 Plato, Parnienid. pp. 136 C, 137 TTJA.IKOVTW ay VOOVOTI yap 

A. Hobbes remarks (Computatio sive oVeu TOVTTJ? rrjs 5t<x irdvrotv 

Logica, Parti, ch. iii. s. 12), "Learners KOU wAai^s aSvvarov ivrvxovra ry 

ought to go through logical exercises 0ei vovv <rx^v- 


the interrogator. 1 All this betokens the plan of the dialogue to 
bring to light all those difficulties which do not present them- 
selves except to a keen-sighted enquirer. 

We must remark farther, that the two hypotheses here 
handled at length by Parmenides are presented by Theexer- 
him only as examples of a dialectical process which ci . ses exni - 
he enjoins the lover of truth to apply equally to Farmed 
many other hypotheses. 2 As he shows that in the ^Ibitod 
case of Unum, each of the two assumptions (Unum only as 
est Unurn non est) can be traced through different spechSens 6 
threads of deductive reasoning so as to bring out enk>iSld h to d 
double and contradictory results Both and Neither : be applied 
so also in the case of those other assumptions which other Ynti- 
remain to be tested afterwards in like manner, anti- nomie8 - 
nomies of the same character may be expected : antinomies 
apparent at least, if not real which must be formally pro- 
pounded and dealt with, before we can trust ourselves as having 
attained reasoned truth. Hence we see that, negative and puzz- 
ling as the dialogue called Parmenides is, even now it would be 
far more puzzling if all that it prescribes in general terms hud 
been executed in detail. While it holds out, in the face of an 
aspirant in philosophy, the necessity of giving equal presumptive 
value to the affirmative and negative sides of each hypothesis, and 
deducing with equal care, the consequences of both it warns him 
at the same time of the contradictions in which he will thereby 
become involved. These contradictions are presented in the 
most glaring manner : but we must recollect a striking passage 
in the Republic, where Plato declares that to confront the aspi- 
rant with manifest contradictions, is the best way of pro- 
voking him to intellectual effort in the, higher regions of 
speculation. 8 

I have already had occasion, when I touched upon the other viri 

p. 137 B ; com- respondent by Aristotle, not merely in 

. the Topica but also in the Analytica 

orce of this re- vp>? 8> o^'P 4vAarr<r0<u 7rapa-yyAAo^e/ 

e should con- airoicptvofUvov avrov? rixpoCiTa 

epts given by ircipaar0<u \av0avcw (Anal. Priora, li. 

a for dialectic p. 66, a. 33). 

ftM 'rfcto.Pamenidp.mB. 
dent how to avoid being puzzled. 3 Plato, Repub. vii. p. 524 E, and in- 

Such precautions are advised to the deed the whole passage, pp. 523-524. 

i Plato, Parmenides, p 
pare Sophistes, p. 217 D. 

To understand the force 
mark of Parmenides, we should con- airoicptvofUvov avrov? rixpoCiTa 
trast it with the precepts given by ircipaar0<u \av0avcw (Anal. Priora, li. 
Aristotle in the Topica for dialectic p. 66, a. 33). 



These Pla- Socratici, contemporaneous with or subsequent to 

nrontefaro ^ a ^> ^ 8^ ve some account of the Zenonian and 

more formi- Megaric dialecticians, and of their sophisms or logical 

anyofthT puzzles, which attracted so much attention from 

8 P ecu ^ a ^ ve men > * n the fourth and third centuries 
broached by B.C. These Megarics, like the Sophists, generally 
phiioso? aric receive very harsh epithets from the historian of philo- 
phers. sophy. They took the negative side, impugned affir- 

mative dogmas, insisted on doubts and difficulties, and started 
problems troublesome to solve. I have tried to show, that such 
disputants, far from deserving all the censure which has been 
poured upon them, presented one indispensable condition to the 
formation of any tolerable logical theory. 1 Their sophisms were 
challenges to the logician, indicating various forms of error and 
confusion, against which a theory of reasoning, in order to be 
sufficient, was required to guard. And the demonstrations given 
by Plato in the latter half of the Parmenides are challenges of 
the same kind : only more ingenious, elaborate, and effective, 
than any of those (so far as we know them) proposed by the 
Megarics by Zeno, or Eukleides, or Diodorus Kronus. The 
Platonic Parmenides here shows, that in regard to a particular 
question, those who believe the affirmative, those who believe the 
negative, and those who believe neither can all furnish good 
reasons for their respective conclusions. In each case he gives 
the proof confidently as being good : and whether unimpeachable 
or not, it is certainly very ingenious and subtle. Such demon- 
strations are in the spirit of Sextus Empiricus, who rests his 
theory of scepticism upon the general fact, that there are opposite 
and contradictory conclusions, both of them supported by evi- 
dence equally good : the affirmative no more worthy of belief 
than the negative. 2 Zeno (or, as Plato calls him, the Eleatic 

i Among the commentators on the of affirmative exposition (Simplikius 

Categories of Aristotle, there were Schol. ad Gate/ Aristot. p. 40 a 

several whose principal object it was 22-30; Schol. Brandis). David the 

i^ P i7 P< i *ft th< ?.. most ^ rave and Armenian, in his Scholia on the Cate- 

JESS 23? ^g^B which they gories (p. 27, b. 41, Brandis), defends 

rnm i MKh f Simphkius does not the Topfca of Aristotle as having been 

commend the style of these men, but composed yv/xvao-ms vapu,, l v * e\i- 

he expresses his gratitude to them for 0o^ ^ fo x * ^ T "L &' e*< T */>a 

the pains which they had taken in the ^ x 4^rlvL^v^<rQ rl r %& 

exposition of the negative case, and for e*& fe. ' 7 ' u ' * 
the stimulus and opportunity which 2 Se xt. Emp. Pyrrh. rtypot. i. 8-12. 

they had thus administered to the work *E<m Sc 1, mim 


Palarnedes l ) did not profess any systematic theory of scepticism ; 
but lie could prove by ingenious and varied dialectic, both the 
thesis and the antithesis on several points of philosophy, by 
reasons which few, if any, among his hearers could answer. In 
like manner the Platonic Parmenides enunciates his contradictory 
demonstrations as real logical problems, which must exercise the 
sagacity and hold back the forward impulse of an eager philoso- 
phical aspirant. Even if this dilemma respecting Unum Est and 
Unum nun Est, be solved, Parmenides intimates that he has 
others in reserve : so that either no tenable positive result will 
ever be attained or at least it will not be attained until after 
such an amount of sagacity and patient exercise as Sokrates him- 
self declares to be hardly practicable. 2 Herein we may see the 
germ and premisses of that theory which was afterwards formally 
proclaimed by JEnesidemus and the professed Sceptics : the same 
holding back (eVo;^), and protest against precipitation in dog- 
matising, 3 which these latter converted into a formula and 
vindicated as a system. 

Schleiermacher has justly observed, 4 that in order to under- 
stand properly the dialectic manoeuvres of the Par- i nor< j e rto 
menides, we ought to have had before us the works of understand 
that philosopher himself, of Zeno, Melissus, Gorgias, Platonic 
and other sceptical reasoners of the age immediately ^^oughtto 
preceding which have unfortunately perished. Some have before 

f j. ^ j. V 1 1 1 U US tll<3 P r - 

reference to these must probably have been present biemsof the 

to Plato in the composition of this dialogue. 5 At the JJfJj^ 

same time, if we accept the dialogue as being (what it Useiessness 

declares itself to be) a string of objections and clia- fo^afposi? 8 

lectical problems, we shall take care not to look for tive result - 

^aij/o/xeVajv re xat voovfteVwj/Ka6' olovSy- r?)i/ r&v fioypartfcwv rrponereiav TTJJ> 

wore rpoirov, a<>* fc epxofJ.e6a. t 5ia TTJI/ ef Soy^artK^v TrpoireTeiav. 

rots avrtKctptaus vpdytJLMn *ai xdyots 4 g c hleieramcher, Einleitung zum 

i<ro<r0e><:iav, rb ^ev irpurov et? ejrpxjv p armen< pp . 97.99. 

rb 5i pTa TOVTO eis aTapagCav . . . i<ro- jrHrmeu - VV- ". 

a-8 eve <.av fie A.e-yo/nei> TI\V Kara. iri<m.v 5 indeed, the second demonstration, 

KO.I a.irt<rriav icromra., w? /urjSeVa /liTjSej/b? among the nine given by Parmenides 

6>p. 143 A, 155 C), coincides 


rSv ftaxo/AeWy \6yuv d>5 6>p. 143 A, 155 C), coincides to a great 

mo-rortpov . . . ffvoTaoretos 5* rfc weir- degree with the conclusion which Zeno 

rtfcfc e<mp apx^j /laAtorra T b IT avrl is represented as having maintained in 

Adyw \6yov l<rov a.vri>K.el<rQan. his published dissertation (p. 127 E); 

1 Plato, Phaedrus, p. 261 D. and shows that the difficulties and con- 

2 Plato, Parmenid. p. 136 C-D. tradictions belong to the world of in- 
8 Sext. Emp. Pyrrh. Hyp. i. 20-212. visible Ideas, as well as to that of 




any other sort of merit than what such a composition requires 
and admits. If the objections are forcible, the problems in- 
genious and perplexing, the purpose of the author is satisfied. 
To search in the dialogue for some positive result, not indeed 
directly enunciated but discoverable by groping and diving 
would be to expect a species of fruit inconsistent with the nature 
of the tree. ZyrStv evprjorcis ov poftov d\\a pdrov. 

It may indeed be useful for the critic to perform for himself 
Assum *^ 6 P rocess wnic h Parmenides intended Sokrates to 

tions of Par- perform ; and to analyse these subtleties with a view 
Ss n Demon- to measlire tne i r bearing upon the work of dogmatic 

strations theorising. We see double and contradictory con- 
convey the , . v . , . f A . J 

minimum of elusions elicited, in four separate Antinomies, from 

^ e same hypothesis, by distinct chains of interroga- 
tory deduction ; each question being sufficiently 
plausible to obtain the acquiescence of the respondent. 
The two assumptions successively laid down by Par- 
menides as principia for deduction Si Unum est Si 
Unum non est convey the very minimum of deter- 
minate meaning. Indeed both words are essentially indeter- 
minate. Both Unum and Ens are declared by Aristotle to be 
not univocal or generic words, 1 though at the same time not 
absolutely equivocal : but words bearing several distinct transi- 

Views of 
upon these 
nate predi- 
cates, Ens, 
Unum, &c. 

sensible particulars, which Sokrates 
had called in question (p. 129 C-E). 

The Aristotelian treatise (whether by 
Aristotle, Theophrastus, or any other 
author) De Zenone, Melisso, Xeno- 
phane, et Gorgia affords some curious 
comparisons with the Parmenides of 
Plato. Aristotel. p. 974 seq. Bekk. ; also 
Fragmenta Philosophorurn Grsecoruin, 
ed. Didot, pp. 273-309. 

i Aristot. Metaphys. iv. 1015-1017, 
ix. 1052, a. 15; Anal. Poster, ii. p. 
92, b. 14. TO 8' eli/<u OVK ouat'a ovSevi. 
il yap yeVoc rb ov. Topica, iv. p. 127, 
>. 28. irAeuo yap TO. rra<riv eiropeva' 
rb ov Kai rb $v rS>v iracriv iirou,ev<av 
la, Physlca, i. p. 185, b. 6. 

Simplikius noted it as one among the 
differences between Plato and Aristotle 
That Plato admitted Unum as having 
only one meaning, not being aware of 
the diversity of meanings which it 
bore ; while Aristotle expressly pointed 

it OUt as a rroA\ax^>S \ey6fJH!vov.^ Ilap- 
fj.cvi&r)$ yap $v rb ov (|>rjcrt, IIA.diTWJ' oe 


TO Ii/ jaovaxws \eyeo-Qai, 6 fie 'A 
Arj? a/jK/xSrepa TroAAa^ws (Schol. ad 
Aristot. Sophist. Elench. p. 320, b. 3, 
Brandis). Aristotle farther remarks 
that Plato considered TO yeVos as ev 
dpi0jixy, and that this was an error; 
we ought rather to say that Plato 
did not clearly discriminate ev ap.0/u.<jf 
from ei/ elfiet (Aristot. Topic, vi. 143, 
1). 30). 

Simplikius farther remarks, that it 
was Aristotle who first rendered to 
Logic the important service of bringing 
out clearly and emphatically the idea 
of TO biuawnov the same word with 
several meanings either totally distinct 
and disparate, or ramifying in different 
directions from the same root, so that 
there came to be little or no affinity be- 
tween many of them. It was Aristotle 
who first classified and named these 
distinctions (oweoi/v/toi/ 6/xo>i/u/u,ov, 
and the intermediate tear ava\oyiav), 
though they had been partially noticed 
by Plato and even by Sokrates. Iw? 


tional meanings, derived either from each other, or from some 
common root, by an analogy more or less remote. Aristotle 
characterises in like manner all the most indeterminate predicates, 
which are not included in any one distinct category among the 
ten, but are made available to predication sometimes in one 
category, sometimes in another : such as Ens, Unum, Idem, 
Diversum, Contrarium, &c. Now in the Platonic Parmenides, 
the two first among these words are taken to form the proposition 
assumed as fundamental datum, and the remaining three are 
much employed in the demonstration : yet Plato neither notices 
nor discriminates their multifarious and fluctuating significations. 
Such contrast will be understood when we recollect that the 
purpose of the Platonic Parmenides is, to propound difficulties ; 
while that of Aristotle is, not merely to propound, but also to 
assist in clearing them up. 

Certainly, in Demonstrations 1 and 2 (as well as 4 and 5), the 
foundation assumed is in words the same proposition 
Si Unum est : but we shall find this same proposi- tonic De- 
tion used in two very different senses. In the first ^lf the" 
Demonstration, the proposition is equivalent to Si same pro- 

i . -, -, . n' TY . T-T position in 

Unum est Unum : l in the second, to S^ Unum est Ens, words is 

or Si Unum existit. In the first the proposition is b^rVcSry 
identical and the verb est serves only as copula : in different 
the second, the verb est is not merely a copula but 
implies Ens as a predicate, and affirms existence. We might 
have imagined that the identical proposition Unum est Unum 
since it really affirms nothing would have been barren of all 
consequences : and so indeed it is barren of all affirmative conse- 
quences. But Plato obtains for it one first step in the way of 
negative predicates Si Unum est Unum, Unum non est Multa : 
and from hence he proceeds, by a series of gentle transitions in- 
geniously managed, to many other negative predications re- 
specting the subject Unum. Since it is not Multa, it can have no 
parts, nor can it be a whole : it has neither beginning, middle, 
nor end : it has no boundary, or it is boundless : it has no figure, 
it is neither straight nor circular : it has therefore no place, being 

Apt<rroT'Aov ov rra/jin-ai/ ccijXov fy Schol. ad Aristot. Physic, p. 323, b. 
TO biMaw^ov aAAa IIA.aTajv re rjpf aro 24, Brandis. 
Trepc TOVTOV jj paAAoi' eKeiVov SwKparn?, 1 Plato, Parmenid. pp. 137 C, 142 B. 


neither in itself, nor in anything else : it is neither in motion 
nor at rest : it is neither the same with anything else, nor the 
same with itself : l it is neither different from any thing else, nor 
different from itself : it is neither like, nor unlike, to itself, nor 
to anything else : it is neither equal, nor unequal, to itself nor to 
any thing else : it is neither older nor younger, nor of equal age, 
either with itself or with anything else : it exists therefore not 
in time, nor has it any participation with time : it neither has 
been nor will be, nor is : it does not exist in any way : it does 
not even exist so as to be Unum : you can neither name it, nor 
reason upon it, nor know it, nor perceive it, nor opine about it. 

All these are impossibilities (concludes Plato). We must 
First De- therefore go back upon the fundamental principle 

monstration f rom which we took our departure, iii order to see 

ends in an r ' 

assemblage whether we shall not obtain, on a second trial, any 

conXiSfs. different result. 2 

Meductio ad Here then is a piece of dialectic, put together with 

Absurdum . , i i -i ii-i 

of the as- ingenuity, showing that everything can be denied, 
Uninn^Sn" an(1 tliat nothing can be affirmed of the subject 
Multa. Unum. All this follows, if you concede the first step y 

that Unum is not Multa. If Unum be said to have any other 
attribute except that of being Unum, it would become at once 
Multa. It cannot even be declared to be either the same with 
itself, or different from any thing else ; because Idem and 
Diversum are distinct natures from Unum, and if added to it 
would convert it into Multa. 3 Nay it cannot even be affirmed to 
be itself : it cannot be named or enunciated : if all predicates are 
denied, the subject is denied along with them : the subject is- 
nothing but the sum total of its predicates and when they are 
all withdrawn, no subject remains. As far as I can understand 
the bearing of this self-contradictory demonstration, it appears a 
reductio ad absurdum of the proposition Unum is not Multa. 
Now Unum which is not Multa designates the Avrb-Ev or Unum 
Ideale ; which Plato himself affirmed, and which Aristotle im- 
pugned. 4 If this be what is meant, the dialogue Parmenides- 

1 This part of the argument is the stration 1, and is stated pp. 139 D, 
extreme of dialectic subtlety, p. 139 140 A, compared with p. 137 C. 
C-D-E. 4 Aristot. Metaph. A. 987, b. 20 ; A. 

2 Plato, Parmenid. p. 142 A. 992, a. 8; B. 1001, a. 27; I. 1053, b. 18. 

3 This is the main point of Demon- Some ancient expositors thought that 




would present here, as in other places, a statement of difficulties 
understood by Plato as attaching to his own doctrines. 

Parmenides now proceeds to his second demonstration : pro- 
fessing to take up again the same hypothesis Si second De- 
Unum est from which he had started in the first l monstration. 
but in reality taking up a different hypothesis under the same 
words. In the first hypothesis, Si Unum est, was equivalent to, 
Si Unum est Unum : nothing besides Unum being taken into the 
reasoning, and est serving merely as copula. In the second, Si 
Unum est, is equivalent to, Si Unum est Ens, or exists : so that 
instead uf the isolated Unum, we have now Unum Ens? Here 
is a duality consisting of Unum and Ens: which two are con- 
sidered as separate or separable factors, coalescing to form the 
whole Unum Ens, each of them being a part thereof. But each 
of these parts is again dual, containing both Unum and Ens : so 
that each part may be again divided into lesser parts, each of 
them alike dual : and so on ad infinitum. Unum Ens thus con- 
tains an infinite number of parts, or is Multa? But even Unum 

the purpose of Plato in the Parmenides 
was to demonstrate this Avrb-'Ei/ ; see 
Schol. ad Aristot. Metaph. p. 786, a. 
10, Brandis. 

It is not easy to find any common 
bearing between the demonstrations 
given in this dialogue respecting *Ei/ 
and TJoAAot and the observations which 
Plato makes in the Phil6bus upon*E> 
and IIoAAa. Would he mean to include 
the demonstrations which we read in 
the Parmenides, in the category of what 
he calls in Philbus "childish, easy, 
and irrational debates on that vexed 
question?" (Plato, Philebus, p. 14 D). 
Hardly : for they are at any rate most 
elaborate as well as ingenious and sug- 
gestive. Yet neither do they suit the 
description which he gives in Philebus 
of the genuine, serious, and difficult 
debates on the same question. 

1 Plato, Parmenid. p. 142 A. BovXjt 
o$v ewl rrjv vtroOetriv ira.\t.v e apv^s 
eiraveA.0w/u.ei>, cdv Tt rifjuv iiraviovcriv aX- 
AOIOP <j>avfj; 

2 This shifting of the real hypothesis, 
though the terms remain unchanged, 
is admitted by implication a little after- 
wards, p. 142 B. vvv 3 i ovx^vrq 
3<mv -fi VTro0e<7i$, >*l $v Sv, ri x& 
<rvft/3atf eti/, dAA' t $v $<rnv. 

3 Plato, Parmenid. pp. 142-143. This 


is exactly what Sokrates in the early 
part of the dialogue (p. 129 B-D) had 
pronounced to be utterly inadmissible, 
viz. : That & ipriv e> should be TroAAa 
that & ecrriv OIAOIOV should be avouoiov. 
The essential characteristic of the 
Platonic Ideas is here denied. How- 
ever, it appears to me that Plato here 
reasons upon two contradictory assump- 
tions ; first, that Unum Ens is a total 
composed of two parts separately assign- 
able Umnn and Ens; next, that Unum 
is not assignable separately from Ens, 
nor Ens from Unum. Proceeding upon 
the first, he declares Unum Ens to be 
divisible : proceeding upon the second, 
he declares that the division must be 
carried on ad inflnitum, because you 
can never reach either the separate Em 
or the separate Unum. But these two 
assumptions cannot be admitted both 
together. Plato must make his elec- 
tion ; either he takes the first, in which 
case the total Unum Ens is divisible, 
and its two factors, Unum and Ens, can 
be assigned separately ; or he takes the 
second, in which case Unum and Ens 
cannot be assigned separatelyare not 
distinguishable factors, so that Unum 
Ens instead of being infinitely divisible, 
is not divisible at all. 

The reasoning as it now stands is, in 
my judgment, fallacious. 



itself (Parmenides argues), if we consider it separately from Ens 
in which it participates, is not Unum alone, but Multa also. 
For it is different from Ens, and Ens is different from it. Unum 
therefore is not merely Unum but also Diversum : Ens also is not 
merely Ens but Diversum. Now when we speak of Unum and 
Ens of Unum and Diversum or of Ens and Diversum we in 
each case speak of two distinct things, each of which is Unum. 
Since each is Unum, the two things become three Ens, Diversum, 
Unum Unum, Diversum, Unum Unum being here taken twice. 
We thus arrive at two and three twice and thrice odd and 
even in short, number, with its full extension and properties. 
Unum therefore is both Unum and Multa both Totum and 
Partes both finite and infinite in multitude. 1 

Parmenides proceeds to show that Unum has beginning, 
It ends in middle, and end together with some figure, straight 
or curved : and that it is both in itself, and in other 

w ^ings : that it is always both in motion and at rest : 2 

first Demon- that it is both the same with itself and different from 
dlmoSstrat^ itself both the same with Csetera, and different from 
ed Neither. Csetera : 8 both like to itself, and unlike to itself- 
both like to Caetera, and unlike to Csetera : 4 that it both touches, 
and does not touch, both itself and Csetera : 5 that it is both 
equal, greater, and less, in number, as compared with itself and 
as compared with Csetera : 6 that it is both older than itself, 
younger than itself, and of the same age with itself both older 
than Csetera, younger than Caetera, and of the same age as 
Cretera also that it is not older nor younger either than itself 
or than Csetera : 7 that it grows both older and younger than 
itself, and than Caetera. 8 Lastly, Unum was, is, and will be ; it 
has been, is, and will be generated : it has had, has now, and 
will have, attributes and predicates : it can be named, and can be 
the object of perception, conception, opinion, reasoning, and 
cognition. 9 

1 Plato, Parmen. pp. 144 A-E, 145 A. 8 Plato, Pannenid. pp. 154 B, 155 C. 

2 Plato, Pannenid. p, 146 A-B. *? T *., *1 ifa.vro. ravra, TO ?v avro* re 

3 Plato, Pannenid. pp. 146-147 C. avrov /ecu TWI/ aXAxtif Trpea/Svrepov icat 

4 Plato, Pannenid. p. 148 A-D. ve&repov ecrri re KCU yiyverou, KCLI ovre 

5 Plato, Pannenid. p. 149 A-D. irpo-/3vTpo> oure veurepov ovr ecrrtv 

6 Plato, Pannenid. pp. 150-151 D. OUT* yiyverat ovre aurov OUT* r>v a\\tav. 

7 Plato, Parmen. pp. 152-158-154 A. Plato, Parmenid. p. 155 C-D. 


Here Parmenides finishes the long Demonstratio Secunda, which 
completes the first Antinomy. The last conclusion of all, with 
which it winds up, is the antithesis of that with which the first 
Demonstration wound up : affirming (what the conclusion of the 
first had denied) that Unum is thinkable, perceivable, nameable, 
knowable. Comparing the second Demonstration with the first, 
we see That the first, taking its initial step, with a negative 
proposition, carries us through a series of conclusions every one 
of which is negative (like those of the second figure of the Aristo- 
telian syllogism) : That whereas the conclusions professedly 
established in the first Demonstration are all in Neither (Unum 
is neither in itself nor in any thing else neither at rest nor in 
motion neither the same with itself nor different from itself, 
&c.), the conclusions of the second Demonstration are all in Both 
(Unum is both in motion and at rest, both in itself and in other 
things, both the same with itself and different from itself) : 
That in this manner, while the first Demonstration denies both 
of two opposite propositions, the second affirms them both. 

Such a result has an air of startling paradox. We find it 
shown, respecting various pairs of contradictory pre- 
positions, first, that both are false next, that both paradox- 
are true. This offends doubly against the logical 

canon, which declares, that of two contradictory pro- against 
positions, one must be true, the other must be false, canon- 

We must remember, that in the Platonic age, there 
existed no systematic logic no analysis or classifica- th . en *> een 
tion of propositions no recognised distinction be- lf cown< 
tween such as were contrary, and such as were contradictory. 
The Platonic Parmenides deals with propositions which are, to 
appearance at least, contradictory : and we are brought, by two 
different roads, first to the rejection of both, next to the admis- 
sion of both. l 


Logik, vol. i. s. 3, pp. 70-71-73) main- glauben, dass das principium identitatis 
tains, if I rightly understand him, not et contradictionfe oberstes logisches 
only that Plato did not adopt the Princip des Plato sei . . Es ist gerade 

. . 

principium identitatis et contradictionis eine Hauptaufgabe, welche sich Plato 

as the basis of his reasonings, but that stellen musste, die Coexistenz der 

one of Plato's express objects was to Gegensatze nachzuweisen, wie diess 

demonstrate the contrary of it, partly bekanntHch im Philebus nnd beawders 

in the Philebus, but especially in the im Parmenides geschieht." 
Parmenides : According to this view, the Antino- 





diction of" 

How can this be possible 1 How can these four propositions 
Demonstra- all be true Unum est Unum Unum est Multa 
Unum non est Unum Unum non est Multa? Plata 
suggests a way out of the difficulty, in that which he 
gives as Demonstration 3. It has been shown that 
Unum "partakes of time" was, is, and will be. 
and II. The propositions are all true, but true at different 
times : one at this time, another at that time. 1 Unum acquires- 
and loses existence, essence, and other attributes : now, it exists 
and is Unum before, it did not exist and was not Unum : so too> 
it is alternately like and unlike, in motion and at rest. But how 
ia such alternation or change intelligible 1 ? At each time, whether 
present or past, it must be either in motion or at rest: at no 
time, neither present nor past, can it be neither in motion nor at 
rest. It cannot, while in motion, change to rest nor, while at 
rest, change to motion. No time can be assigned for the change : 
neither the present, nor the past, nor the future : how then can 
the change occur at all 1 2 

To this question the Platonic Parmenides finds an answer in 
Plato's ima- ^'hat he calls the Sudden or the Instantaneous : an 

gination of anomalous nature which lies out of, or apart from, the 
the Sudden ' * ; 

or inatan- course ot time, being neither past, present, nor fiuure. 

Broachesor That wn ^ c ^ changes, changes at once and suddenly ; 
momentary at an instant when it is neither in motion nor at rest. 
" This Suddenly is a halt or break in the iiow of time : 3 
an extra- temporal condition, in which the subject haa 

of time. 

mies in the Parmenides are all of them 
good proofs, and the conclusions of all 
of them, summed up as they are in the 
final sentence of the dialogue, constitute 
an addition to the positive know ledge 
of Sokrates. I confess that this to me 
is unintelligible. I understand these 
Antinomies as atropicu to be cleared 
up, but in no other character. 

Prantl speaks (p. 73) of " die antino- 
mische Begriiudung der Ideenlchre ira 
Parmenides," &c. This is the same 
language as that used by Zeller, upon 
which I have already remarked. 

i This is a distinction analogous to 
that which Plato points out in the 
Sophistes (pp. 242-243) between the 
theories of Herakleitus and Empe- 

2 Plato, Parmenid. p. 156. 

3 Plato, Parmenid. p. 156 E. aAA' 17 
e^aicjlu'Tjs avrij $ v <r 1 9 a T o ir o s 
TIS eyKaBrirai ^erav TTJS KIVIJ- 
o-ews re al a- T a crews, ey xpuvy 
ovSevl o5<ra, KCU ets ravr^v Sij al 
TO eo-raveu, *<al TO etrrbs tirijb Ktvetcrdat. 
. . . cal rb $v 817, elrrep evrriKe T coi 
Kiveirat, /u.Ta/3ciAAoi av e</>' aTpa- 
/u.oi'w? yap av OVTWS a/u.c/>oTepa irotot 
/u.eTa/SJaAAoi' 6' ifatyviis /*eTa/3dAAet, 
Kai OT fAera^dAAei, ev ovSwi \povtf a.v 
elrj, ov5< JCIVOIT' av TOTC, ovfi* av orrotw. 

To eai'<f>Kij? if e^ai^i/rj? </>ua-is aro- 
m>? TI? may be compared to an in- 
tinitesimal ; analogous to what is re- 
cognised in the theory of the cliff eren- 
tial calculus. 


no existence, no attributes though it revives again forthwith 
clothed with its new attributes : a point of total negation or 
annihilation, during which the subject with all its attributes dis- 
appears. At this interval (the Suddenly) all predicates may be 
truly denied, but none can be truly affirmed. 1 Unum is neither 
at rest, nor in motion neither like nor unlike neither the 
same with itself nor different from itself neither Unum nor 
Multa. Both predicates and Subject vanish. Thus all the nega- 
tions of the first Demonstration are justified. Immediately 
before the Suddenly, or point of change, Unum was in motion 
immediately after the change, it is at rest : immediately before, 
it was like equal the same with itself Unum, &c. immedi- 
ately after, it is unlike unequal different from itself Multa, 
&c. And thus the double and contradictory affirmative predica- 
tions, of which the second Demonstration is composed, are in 
their turn made good, as successive in time. This discovery of 
the extra-temporal point Suddenly, enables Parmenides to uphold 
both the double negative of the first Demonstration, and the 
double affirmative of the second. 

The theory here laid down in the third Demonstration re- 
specting this extra-temporal point the Suddenly Review of 
deserves all the more attention, because it applies not J^^J^^f 
merely to the first and second Demonstration which BomonHtra- 
precede it, but also to the fourth and fifth, the sixth tinonriesln 
and seventh, the eighth and ninth, which follow it. ^h, the^ 
I have already observed, that the first and second the Neither, 
Demonstration form a corresponding pair, branching proves^the 
off from the same root or hypothetical proposition kth. 
(at least the same in terms), respecting the subject Unum; and 
destined to prove, one the Neither, the other the Both, of several 
different predicates. So also the fourth and fifth form a pair 
applying to the subject Ccetera; and destined to prove, that from 

i This appears'tp be an illustration Herakleitus, especially i. p. 358, ii. 

of the doctrine which Lassalle ascribes p. 258. He scarcely however takes 

to Ilerakleitus ; perpetual implication notice of the Platonic Parmenides. 
of negativity and positivity des Some of the Stoics considered rb vvv 

Nichtseins mit dem Sein : perpetual as uySev and nothing in time to be 

absorption of each particular into the real except TO iraptpYntcbf and TO /m<?A- 

universal ; and perpetual reappearance \ov (Plutarch, De ' Comraun. Notitiis 

as an opposite particular. See the two contra Htoicoa, p. 1081 D). 
elaborate volumes of Lassalle upon 


the same hypothetical root Si Unum est we can deduce the 
Neither as well as the Both, of various predicates of Csetera. 
When we pass on to the four last Demonstrations, we find that 
in all four, the hypothesis Si Unum non est is substituted for that 
of Si Unum est : but the parallel couples, with the corresponding 
purpose, are still kept up. The sixth and seventh apply to the 
subject Unum, and demonstrate respecting that subject (proceed- 
ing from the hypothesis Si Unum non est) first the Both, then the 
Neither, of various predicates : the eighth and ninth arrive at the 
same result, respecting the subject Ccetera. And a sentence at the 
close sums up in few words the result of all the four pairs (1-2, 
4-5, 6-7, 8-9, that is, of all the Demonstrations excepting the 
third) the Neither and the Both respecting all of them. 

To understand these nine Demonstrations properly, therefore, 
The third we ought to consider eight among them (1-2, 4-5, 6-7, 

Demonstra- 3.9) as f olir Antinomies, or couples establishing dia- 
tionisme- _ '. _. . ' , r , , . 

diatorial, lectic contradictions : and the third as a mediator 

satisfactory between the couples announced as if it reconciled 
The hypo- the contradictions of the first Antinomy, and capable 

thesis of . , . . , , , .,! ,. 

the Sudden of being adapted, in the same character with certain 

neouf found modifications, to the second, third, and fourth Antino- 
no favour, my. Whether it reconciles them successfully in other 
words, whether the third Demonstration will itself hold good is 
a different question. It will be found to involve the singular 
and paradoxical (Plato's own phrase) doctrine of the extra- 
temporal Suddenly conceiving Time as a Discretum and not a 
Continuum. This doctrine is intended by Plato here as a means of 
rendering the fact of change logically conceivable and explicable. 
He first states briefly the difficulty (which we know to have been 
largely insisted on by Diodorus Kronus and other Megarics) of 
logically explaining the fact of change and then enunciates this 
doctrine as the solution. We plainly see that it did not satisfy 
others for the puzzle continued to be a puzzle long after and 
that it did not even satisfy Plato, except at the time when he 
composed the Parmenides since neither the doctrine itself (the 
extra-temporal break or transition) nor the very peculiar phrase 
in which it is embodied (TO egatyvrjs, aroiros ns <f>v<ns) occur in 
any of his other dialogues. If the doctrine were really tenable, 
it would have been of use in dialectic, and as such, would have 


been called in to remove the theoretical difficulties raised among 
dialectical disputants, respecting time and motion. Yet Plato 
does not again advert to it, either in Sophistea or Timseus, in 
both of wKich there is special demand for it. 1 Aristotle, while 
he adopts a doctrine like it (yet without employing the peculiar 
phrase TO egaiffrvrjs) to explain qualitative change, does not admit 
the same either as to quantitative change, or as to local motion, 
or as to generation and destruction. 2 The doctrine served the 
purpose of the Platonic Parmenides, as ingenious, original, and 
provocative to intellectual effort : but it did not acquire any per- 
manent footing in Grecian dialectics. 

The two last Antinomies, or four last Demonstrations, have, in 
common, for their point of departure, the negative proposition, 
Si Unum non est: and are likewise put together in parallel 
couples (6-7, 8-9), a Demonstration and a Counter-Demonstration 
a Both and a Neither : first with reference to the subject 
Unum next with reference to the subject Gcetera. 

Si Unum est Si Unum non est. Even from such a proposition 
as the first of these, we might have thought it difficult Review of 
to deduce any string of consequences which Plato j^t^ti 
has already done : from such a proposition as the nomies. 
second, not merely difficult, but impossible. Never- tionTvi!" 
theless the ingenious dialectic of Plato accomplishes and VI1 - 
the task, and elicits from each proposition a Both, and a Neither, 
respecting several predicates of Unum as well as of Caetera. 
When you say Unum non est (so argues the Platonic Parmenides in 
Demonstration 6), you deny existence respecting Unum : but the 
proposition Unum non est, is distinguishable from Magnitude non 
est Parvitudo non est and such like : propositions wherein the 
subject is different, though the predicate is the same : so that 

i Steinhart represents this idea of with the Scholion of Simplikius, p. 

TO c^atypiit the extra-temporal break 410, b. 20, Brandts, 

or zero of transition as an important The discussion occupies two or three 

progress made by Plato, compared with pages of Aristotle's Physica. In regard 

the ThesetOtus, because it breaks down to aXAoiWis or Qualitative change, he 

the absoluten Gegensatz between Sein recognised what ne called adpoav ^era- 

and Werden, Ruhe and Bewegung poA^v a change all at once, which 

(Einleitung zum Parmen. p. 309). occupied no portion of time. It is 

Surely, if Plato had considered it a plain, however, that even his own 

progress, we should have seen the same scholars Theophrastus and Eudemus 

idea repeated in various other dia- had great difficulty in accepting the 

logues which is not the case. doctrine ; see Scholia, pp. 409-410-411, 

a Aristotel. Physic, v. p. 235, b. 82, Brandis. 


Unum non Ens is still a Something knowablo, and distinguishable 
from other things a logical subject of which various other pre- 
dicates may be affirmed, though the predicate of existence cannot 
be affirmed. 1 It is both like and unlike, equal and' unequal 
like and equal to itself, unlike and unequal to other things. 2 
These its predicates being all true, are also real existences : so 
that Unum partakes quodam modo in existence : though Unum be 
non-Ens, nevertheless, Unum non-Ens est. Partaking thus both 
of non-existence and of existence, it changes : it both moves and 
is at rest : it is generated and destroyed, yet is also neither 
generated nor destroyed. 3 

Having thus deduced from the fundamental principle this 
string of Both opposite predicates, the Platonic Parmenides 
reverts (in Demonstration 7) to the same principium (Si Unum 
non est) to deduce by another train of reasoning the Neither of 
these predicates. When you say that Unum non est, you must 
mean that it does not partake of existence in any way absolutely 
and without reserve. It therefore neither acquires nor loses 
existence : it is neither generated nor destroyed : it is neither in 
motion nor at rest : it partakes of nothing existent : it is neither 
equal nor unequal neither like nor unlike neither great nor 
little neither this, nor that : neither the object of perception, 
nor of knowledge, nor of opinion, nor of naming, nor of debate. 4 

These two last counter-demonstrations (6 and 7), forming the 
Domcmstra- third Antinomy, deserve attention in this respect 
founded' ** ^at ^ le seventn * s founded upon the genuine Parme- 
upon the nidean or Eleatic doctrine about Non-Ens, as not 
frin^ofpar- merely having no attributes, but as being unknow- 
memdes. a ^ 6j unperceivable, unnameable : while the sixth is 
founded upon a different apprehension of Non-Ens, which is ex- 
plained and defended by Plato in the Sophistes, as a substitute 
for, and refutation of, the Eleatic doctrine. 5 According to 

1 Plato, Parmenid. pp.^ 160-161 A. xal aXXtov iroXXwf apayKij avry /XT- 
flvat fxev 8tj T(f ei/l ov\ ol6v re, ettrep ctpai. 
y juri) eo-ri, fiereVetv fa iroXXwv ovBev 2 Plato, Parmenid. p. 161 CVD. 

KwXvei, aXXa al avayo}, etirep r6 ye $v 3 Plato, Pannenid. pp. 162-163 A. 
eieetvo ical /x>j aAXo /J.YJ e<rru'. ei fiWot The steps by which these conclusions 

pjTe TO $v Mr* itttlvo firj eorai, cLXXa are made out are extremely subtle, and 

wept oXXov rov 6 X<^yo?, ou5c <f>9eyyecrd<u hardly intelligible to me. 
6ft ov&tv ' fi&trb tv CKCIVO <eai fxij aXXo * Plato, Parmenid. pp. 163-164 A. 
viroKCtrcu /U.TJ <Ti/at, /cai rov e K f ivov 6 Plato, Sophistes, pp. 258-259. 


Number 7, when you deny, of Unura, the predicate exist- 
ence, you deny of it also all other predicates : and the name 
Unum is left without any subject to apply to. This is the 
Eleatic dogma. Unum having been declared to be Non-Ens, is 
(like Non-Ens) neither knowable nor nameable. According to 
Number 6, the proposition Unum est non-Ens, does not carry 
with it any such consequences. Existence is only one predicate, 
which may be denied of the subject Unum, but which, when 
denied, does not lead to the denial of all other predicates nor, 
therefore, to the loss of the subject itself. Unum still remains 
Unum, knowable, and different from other things. Upon this 
first premiss are built up several other affirmations ; so that we 
thus arrive circuitously at the affirmation of existence, in a 
<53rtain way : Unum, though non-existent, does nevertheless 
exist quodam modo. This coincides with that which the Eleatic 
stranger seeks to prove in the Sophistes, against Parmenidea. 
If we compare the two foregoing counter -demonstrations 

(7 and 6), we shall see that the negative results of 

\ ,, ,, , i /. ,-, Bemonstra- 

the seventh follow properly enough from the as- turns vi. 
turned premisses : but that the affirmative results em^iMered 
of the sixth are not obtained without very nnwar- Unwar- 

.,,. ,, . i . -i . rantable 

rantable jumps in the reasoning, besides its extreme H tcTH in the 

subtlety. But apart from this defect, we farther K'fiiTliT 

remark that here also (as in Numbers 1 and 2) the mental pre- 

f i - i i 1 ' , i miss dme- 

fundamental principle assumed is in terms the same, rontly in- 

in signification materially different. The wignifica- though ' 1 ' 
tion of Unum non est, as it is construed in Number 7, tho Maine 
is the natural one, belonging to the words : but as 
construed in Number 6, the meaning of the predicate is alto- 
gether effaced (as it had been before in Number 1) : we cannot 
tell what it is which is really denied about Unum. AH, in 
Number 1, the proposition Unum est is so construed as to affirm 
nothing except Unum est Unum so in Number 7, the proposi- 
tion Unum non est is so construed as to deny nothing except 
Unum non est Unum, yet conveying along with such denial a 
farther affirmation Unum non est Unum, sed tamen est aliquid 
scihtte, di/erens db alii*. 1 Here this aliqnid scibile is assumed as a 

i Plato, Parmenid. p. 160 C. 


substratum underlying Unum, and remaining even when Unum 
is taken away : contrary to the opinion that Unum was a 
separate nature and the fundamental Subject of all which Ari- 
stotle announces as having been held by Plato. 1 There must be 
always some meaning (the Platonic Parmenides argues) attached 
to the word Unum, even when you talk of Unum non Ens : and 
that meaning is equivalent to Aliquid scibile, differens ab aliis. 
From this he proceeds to evolve, step by step, though often in a 
manner obscure and inconclusive, his series of contradictory affir- 
mations respecting Unum. 

The last couple of Demonstrations 8 and 9 composing the 
fourth Antinomy, are in some respects the most ingenious and 
singular of all the nine. Si Unum non est, what is true about 
Csotera 1 The eighth demonstrates the Both of the affirmative 
predicates, the ninth proves the Neither. 

Si Unum non est (is the argument of the eighth), Csetera must 
nevertheless somehow still be Caetera : otherwise you 
tioifvni. " could not talk about Csetera. 2 (This is an argument 
* n Demonstration 6 : What is talked about 

Demonstra- must exist, somehow.) But if Csetera can be named 
and talked about, they must be different from some- 
thing, and from something, which is also different from them. 
What can this Something be 1 ? Not certainly Unum : for Unum, 
by the Hypothesis, does not exist, and cannot therefore be the 
term of comparison. Ccetera therefore must be different among 
themselves and from each other. But they cannot be compared 
with each other by units : for Unum does not exist. They must 
therefore be compared with each other by heaps or multitudes : 
each of which will appear at first sight to be an unit, though it 
be not an unit in reality. There will be numbers of such heaps, 
each in appearance one, though not in reality : 3 numbers odd 
and even, great and little, in appearance : heaps appearing to be 
greater and less than each other, and equal to each other, though 
not being really so. Each of these heaps will appear to have a 
beginning, middle, and end, yet will not really have any such : 

1 Aristot. Metaph. B. 1001, a. 6-20. 3 Plato, Parmenid. p. 164 D. OVKOVV 

2 Plato, Pavmenid. p. 164 B. "AAAa iroXAol oy*ot carovrat, els eKaorros ^ouco- 
t*.tv nov Set aura etvcu el -yap /u.r)8e aAXa /ixevos, Stv 2 ov, etrrep IP fir) eorrai* 
eariV, OVK av wept TU>V aAAwv Xeyoiro. OVTC*>S. 


for whenever you grasp any one of them in your thoughts, there 
will appear another beginning before the beginning, 1 another end 
after the end, another centre more centrical than the centre, 
minima ever decreasing because you cannot reach any stable 
unit. Each will be a heap without any unity ; looking like one, 
at a distance, but when you come near, each a boundless and 
countless multitude. They will thus appear one and many, like 
and unlike, equal and unequal, at rest and moving, separate and 
coalescing : in short, invested with an indefinite number of oppo- 
site attributes. 2 

This Demonstration 8, with its strange and subtle chain of 
inferences, purporting to rest upon the admission of Demonatra- 
Csetera without Unurn, brings out the antithesis of the ti n VHI. 
Apparent and the Real, which had not been noticed subtle and 
in the preceding demonstrations. Demonstration 8 is Zenonian - 
in its character Zenonian. It probably coincides with the proof 
which Zeno is reported (in the earlier half of this dialogue) to 
have given against the existence of any real Multa. If you 
assume Multa (Zeno argued), they must be both like and unlike, 
and invested with many other opposite attributes ; but this is 
impossible ; therefore the assumption is untrue. 8 Those against 
whom Zeno reasoned, contended for real Multa, and against a 
real Unum. Zeno probably showed, and our eighth Demonstra- 
tion here shows also, that Multa under this supposition are 
nothing real, but an assemblage of indefinite, ever-variable, con- 
tradictory appearances : an "ATmpoi/, Infinite, or Chaos : an 
object not real and absolute, but relative and variable according 
to the point of view of the subject. 

To the eighth Demonstration, ingenious as it is, succeeds a 
countervailing reversal in the ninth : the Neither Demonstra- 
following the Both. The fundamental supposition is ^J^fcJ. 
in terms the same. Si Unum non est, what is to be- lowing Both. 

i Plato, Parmenid. p. 165 A. *Ort 2piato,Parmenid.p.l65E. Compare 
del avrwv OTUV TI'S Tt AajSfl TQ fiuxvouf p. 158 E. rots aMois 5>j TOV vbs. . . . 
ciij rt rovrotv 6v, rrpo re TT}S apx 1 ? 5 a-*-*") n 8$ avrStv ^vcriy /ca0' lavrd aTreipiav 

al ^atverat apx^ P*Ta re TTJI/ 

errfpa VTroXeiTTO^ reXevT,}, ev re r<? 8 Plato, Parmenid. p. 127 E; com- 

peer? aMfiHffMTcpaTov fu<rov, Vfutpo- are this ^th the c l ose of the eighth 

repa S<r 8ta TO w Swyrtai /os avruiv fc emonstra tion, p. 165 E-t I ivbs 

cKio-rou Xofi^ave^at, ar OVK OI/TOS TOV - - ' 


come of Ccetera ? Ccetera are not Unum : yet neither are they 
Multa : for if there were any Multa, Unum would be included 
in them. If none of the Multa were Unum, all of them would 
be nothing at all, and there would be no Multa. If therefore 
Unum be not included in Csetera, Cretera would be neither 
Unum nor Multa : nor would they appear to be either Unum or 
Multa : for Csetera can have no possible communion with Non- 
Entia : nor can any of the Non-Entia be present along with any 
of Cootera since Non-Entia have no parts. We cannot therefore 
conceive or represent to ourselves Non-Ens as along with or be- 
longing to Csetera. Therefore, Si Unwm, non est, nothing among 
Cootera is conceived either as Unum or as Multa : for to conceive 
Multa without Unum is impossible. It thus appears, Si Unum 
non est, that Cetera neither are Unum nor Multa. Nor are they 
conceived either as Unum or Multa either as like or as unlike 
either as the same or as different either as in contact or as 
apart. In short, all those attributes which in the last preceding 
Demonstration were shown to belong to them in appearance, are now 
shown not to belong to them either in appearance or in reality. 1 

Here we find ourselves at the close of the Parmenides. Plato 
Concluding announces his purpose to be, to elicit contradictory 
Parmeifides conc l lls i ns > 1>V different .trains of reasoning, out of 
Deciara- the same fundamental assumption. 2 He declares, in 
has demon- the concluding words, that on the hypothesis of 
BothTan^ 6 ^ num es ^ as we U as on that of Unum non est he has 
the Neither succeeded in demonstrating the Both and the Neither 
forenTpro- " of many distinct propositions, respecting Unum and 
positions. respecting Ccetera. 

The close of the Parmenides, as it stands here, may be fairly 
Comparison com P are( l to the enigma announced by Plato in hi^ 
of the con- Republic " A man and no man, struck and did not 

1 Plato, Parmenid. p. 166 A-B. *Ev in the last note, another passage, p. 
rfpa et w eo-rc, raAAa oure e<mv ovre 159 B, at the beginning of Demon- 
&odfrat, $v ovre TroAAa. . . . OuS' apa stration^S. 

6/m.oia ovSe avoftoia.. . . . OvSe /utijv ra OVKOVV ravra.^ ftev 1)817 ^ ew/tiei- w? 

aura -ye ov8* e'repa, ovS a.irr6^tva ovfie <f>avepa, eiri<TKOir>fJiey 6e ffdAii/, tv el 

X<>pts> ovfi^a\A'o(ra evrots IT p6- IOTTIV, apa icat OVXJ^VTWS X t 

adev St>iA00fiv (compare 8 icAfletf, raAXa TOU e^bs ^ OVTW p.6vov; 
p. 165 E) we $auv6neva. avra, TOV- Here the purpose to prove OVY 

TCOV ovre n effnv ovre ^aiverat OVTW?, immediately on tne heels of 
TaAAa, *v l u.y eartv. 

2 Compare, with the passage cited 


strike, with a stone and no stone, a bird and no bird, Jjj^j?, 11 of 

sitting upon wood and no wood". 1 This is an enigma, nides to an 

propounded for youthful auditors to guess : stirnu- the^RepuL 

lating their curiosity, and tasking their intelligence lic - D ^ er - 

to find it out. As far as I can see, the puzzling anti- constructor 

nomies in the Parmenides have no other purpose, enigma 

They drag back the forward and youthful Sokrates adapted its 

c j.- i 4.- 4. 4-- 114. i conditions 

from affirmative dogmatism to negative doubt and to a fore- 
embarrassment. There is however this difference be- Jj 
tween the enigma in the Republic, and the Anti- did not. 
nomies in the Parmenides. The constructor of the enigma had 
certainly a preconceived solution to which he adapted the con- 
ditions of his problem : whereas we have no sufficient ground for 
asserting that the author of the Antinomies had any such solu- 
tion present or operative in his mind. How much of truth Plato 
may himself have recognised, or may have wished others to re- 
cognise, in them, we have no means of determining. We find in 
them many equivocal propositions and unwarranted inferences 
much blending of truth with error, intentionally or unin- 
tentionally. The veteran Parmenides imposes the severance of 
the two, as a lesson, upon his youthful hearers Sokrates arid 

i Plato, Republ. v. 479 C. The allu- amount of positive philosophy which 

sion was to an eunuch knocking down a commentator like Steinhart ex- 

a bat seated upon a reed. Au/6? rts tracts from the concluding enigma 

e<rnv *>s a.vr]p re KOVK avrlp, "Opi/iOa. re of the Parmenides, and which he 

KOVK opviO* ISwi/ re KOVK tSiuj/,'E7ri fvAov even affirms that no attentive reader 

re KOV vA.ov K.a&i\\*.*.\n\v At'0<j> re KOV At'&p of the dialogue can possibly miss 

0dAoi re KOV 0d\ot. (Einleitung zum Parmenides, pp. 302- 

I read with astonishment the 303). 




IN this dialogue, as in the Parmenides immediately preceding, 
Subject and Plato dwells upon the intellectual operations of 
In the 18 * 68 m ^ n< l : introducing the ethical and emotional only in 
Theeetetus. a partial and subordinate way. The main question 
canvassed is, What is Knowledge Cognition Science? After a 
long debate, turning the question over in many distinct points 
of view, and examining three or four different answers to the 
question all these answers are successively rejected, and the 
problem remains unsolved. 

The two persons who converse with Sokrates are, Theodorus, 
an elderly man, eminent as a geometrician, astronomer, &c., and 
teaching those sciences and Thesete'tus, a young man of great 
merit and still greater promise : acute, intelligent, and inquisitive 
high-principled and courageous in the field, yet gentle and 
conciliatory to all : lastly, resembling Sokrates in physiognomy 
and in the flatness of his nose. The dialogue is supposed to have 
taken place during the last weeks of the life of Sokrates, when 
his legal appearance as defendant is required to answer the in- 
dictment of Meletus, already entered in the official record. 1 The 
dialogue is here read aloud to Eukleides of Megara and his 
fellow-citizen Terpsion, by a slave of Eukleides : this last person 
had recorded it in writing from narrative previously made to him 
by Sokrates. 2 'It is prefaced by a short discourse between 

l Plato, Thesett. ad fin. p. 210. off the conversation for the purpose of 

a Plato, Thesetet. i. pp. 142 E, 143 A. going to answer it: Eukleides hears 

Plato hardly keeps up the fiction the dialogue from the mouth of So- 

about the time of tuis dialogue with krates afterwards. " Immediately on 

perfect consistency. When it took getting home to Megara" (says Eu- 

place, the indictment of Meletus had kleides) " I wrote down memoranda (of 

already been recorded : Sokrates breaks what I had heard) : then afterwards I 


Eukleides and Terpsion, intended to attract our sympathy and 
admiration towards the youthful The&te'tus. 

In answer to the question put by Sokrates What is Know- 
ledge or Cognition 1 Theaet&tus at first replies That Q Ues ti on 
there are many and diverse cognitions : of geometry, raised by 

j? -4.-L j.- * x j *. j -L i. i Sokrates 

of arithmetic, of arts and trades, such as shoemaking, what is 

joinery, &c. Sokrates points out (as in the Menon, 

Hippias Major, and other dialogues) that such an tion? First 
answer involves a misconception of the question : 

which was general, and required a general answer, 
setting forth the characteristic common to all cogni- different 
tions. No one can know what cognition is in shoe- cmrectecf 
making or any particular case unless he first knows b ? Sokrates. 
what is cognition generally. 1 Specimens of suitable answers to 
general questions are then given (or of definition of a general 
term), in the case of clay and of numbers square and oblong. 2 

called it back to my mind at leisure, composed by Plato after the Phaedon, 

and as often as I visited Athens I which last was composed immediately 

questioned Sokrates about such por- after the death of Sokrates (Ast, Platen's 

tions as I did not remember, and made Leben, &c., p. 192). I see no ground 

corrections on my return here, so that for this affirmation. Most of the corn- 

now nearly all the dialogue has been mentators rank it among the dialectical 

written out." dialogues, which they consider to be- 

Such a process would require longer long to a later period of Plato's life 

time than is consistent with the short than the ethical, but to an earlier 

remainder of the life of Sokrates. period than the constructive, such as 

Socher indeed tries to explain this by Republic, Timacna, &c. Most of them 

assuming a long interval between the place the Theretetus in one or other of 

indictment and the trial, but this is the years between 393-383 B.C., though 

noway satisfactory. (Ueber Platon's they differ much among themselves 

Schriften, p. 251.) whether it is to be considered as later 

Mr. Lewis Campbell, in the Preface or earlier than other dialogues Kra- 

to his very useful edition of this dia- tylus, Euthydemus, Menon. Gorgias, 

logue (p. Ixxi. Oxford, 1861), consi- &c. (Stallbaum, Proleg. Theffit. pp. 

ders that the battle in which Theae- 6-10; Steinhart, Einleit. zum Theeet. 

t^tus is represented as having been pp. 100-213.) Munk and Ueberweg, 

wounded, is probably meant for that on the contrary, -place the Theeetetus 

battle in which Iphikrates and his at a date considerably later, subsequent 

peltasts destroyed the Spartan Mora, to 868 B.C. Munk assigns it to 868 or 

B.C. 390 : if not that, then the battle at 357 B.C. after Plato's last return from 

the Isthmus of Corinth against Epa- Sicily (Munk, Die natttrliche Ordnung 

minondas, B.C. 369. Scmeiermacher der Platen. Schr. pp. 857-697: Ueber- 

in his Einleitung to the dialogue weg, Ueber die Aechtheit der Platon. 

(p. 186) seems to prefer the supposi- Schr. pp. 228-236). 
tion of some earlier battle or skirmish i Plato, Thesete't, p. 147 A. 
under Iphikrates. The point can OvB' apa ivurrjiuiv viro^artav 

hardly be determined. Still less can <nm>j<ni/, 6 tmcrT^^v w l6us ; Ov 

we fix the date at which the dialogue yap. 

was written, though the mention of the 2piato, Thesetfit. p. 148. Oblong 

battle of Corinth certifies that it was (irpojxi7Kt) numbers are such as can 

later than 894 B.C. Ast affirms con- be produced only from two unequal 

fldently that it was the first dialogue factors. The explanation of this 


I have already observed more than once how important an object 
it was with Plato to impress upon his readers an exact and ade- 
quate conception of the meaning of general terms, and the proper 
way of denning them. For this purpose he brings into contrast 
the misconceptions likely to arise in the minds of persons not 
accustomed to dialectic. 

Thesete'tus, before he attempts a second answer, complains how 
preliminary mucn * ne subject had embarrassed him. Impressed 
cpnversa- with what he had heard about the interrogatories of 
the second Sokrates, he had tried to solve this problem : but he 
g?v S en er So- had no * ^ een a ^ c ^ sa ^ s fy himself with any attempted 
krates de- solution nor yet to relinquish the search altogether, 
own pecu- " You are in distress, Theootetus " (oberves Sokrates), 
^menta? Cy "because } r u are no ^ em pty> but pregnant. 1 You 
obstetric have that within you, of which you need to be re- 
teac^but licved ; and you cannot be relieved without obstetric 
evolve a ^' ^ * s m y l )(?cu ^ ar ift from the Gods to afford 

knowledge such aid, and to stimulate the parturition of pregnant 
pregnant minds which cannot of themselves bring forth what is 
minds. within them. 2 I can produce no truth myself : but 
I can, by my art inherited from my mother the midwife Phse- 
narete, extract truth from others, and test the answers given by 
others : so as to determine whether such answers are true and 
valuable, or false and worthless. I can teach nothing : I only 
bring out what is already struggling in the minds of youth : and 
if there be nothing within them, my procedure is unavailing. 
My most important function is, to test the answers given, how 
far they are true or false. But most people, not comprehending 
my drift, complain of me as a most eccentric person, who only 
makes others sceptical. They reproach me, and that truly 
enough, with always asking questions, and never saying any 
thing of my own : because I have nothing to say worth hearing.* 

difficult passage, requiring us to keep 3 Plato, TheaetSt. p. 149 A. 
in mind the geometrical conception 
of numbers usual among the Greek 

3 Plato, The&tet. p. 149 A, p. 150 A. pauut ayovo? lfu 


The young companions who frequent my society, often suffer 
long-continued pains of parturition night and day, before they 
can be delivered of what is within them. Some, though appa- 
rently stupid when they first come to me, make great progress, 
if my divine coadjutor is favourable to them : others again be- 
come tired of me, and go away too soon, so that the little good 
which I have done them becomes effaced. Occasionally, some of 
these impatient companions wish to return to me afterwards 
but my divine sign forbids me to receive them : where such 
obstacle docs not intervene, they begin again to make progress." l 

This passage, while it forcibly depicts the peculiar intellectual 
gift of Sokrates, illustrates at the same time the Pla- Et]lical 
tonic manner of describing, full of poetry and meta- bania of the 
phor. Cross-examination by Sokrates communicated minaiJon of 
nothing new, but brought out what lav buried in the $"fcrat<is~~ 

i < i i i -ii i . , . Ho i for- 

mind or the respondent, and tested the value ot his hidden to 

answers. It was applicable only to minds endowed ^ohood 
and productive : but for them it was indispensable, without 
in order to extract what they were capable of pro- C * enge ' 
ducing, .and to test its value when extracted. " Do not think me 
unkind," (says Sokrates,) "or my procedure useless, if my 
scrutiny exposes your answers as fallacious. Many respondents 
have been violently angry with me for doing so : but I feel 
myself strictly forbidden either to admit falsehood, or to put 
aside truth." 2 Here we have a suitable prelude to a dialogue in 
which four successive answers are sifted and rejected, without 
reaching, even at last, any satisfactory solution. 

The first answer given by Theaitetus is " Cognition is sensa- 
tion (or sensible perception) ". Upon this answer So- Answer of 
krates remarks, that it is the same doctrine, though 
in other words, as what was laid down by Prota- 
goras " Man is the measure of all things : of things okrate8 >n ' 
existent, that they exist : of things non-existent, that gJJ }^f^ e 
they do not exist. As things appear to me, so they same doc- 

i Plato, Theaetet. pp. 150 E, 151 A. vol. ii. ch. xv. pp. 105-7) the character of 

iviotf pev rb ytyvo^vov ftot &on.p.6v\.ov mystery, unaccountable and unpredict- 

airojcwAuet ^vpetpcu, ei/tot? 6 <f *ai able in ite working on individuals, with 

fl-oAtf octroi eiri8i&6a.<ri.v, which Plato invests the colloquy of 

We here see (what I have already Sokrates. 
adverted to in reviewing the Theages, 2 Plato, Theeetet p. 151 D. 





trine as are * me ' as they a PP ear to 7 OU > so they are 

the Homo to vou." J Sokrates then proceeds to say, that these 
Mensura " . . _. x . , . i i i 

laid down two opinions are akin to, or identical with, the 

goras,and general view of nature entertained by Herakleitus, 

that both Empedokle"s, and other philosophers, countenanced 
are in close x ' J ... Tr J \ ^ /. ._,. 

affinity with moreover by poets like Homer and Epicharmus. The 

trineso"f philosophers here noticed (he continues), though dif- 

Homer, ferine much in other respects, all held the doctrine 

Heraklei- ,-, . 4 4. i " \ i A - v 

tus, Empe- that nature consisted in a perpetual motion, change, 

nii k flYp.fli$ C "' or nux : ^ na ^ there was 110 real Ens or permanent 
substratum, but perpetual genesis or transition. 2 These 
philosophers were opposed to Parmenides, who main- 
tained (as I have already stated in a previous chapter) that there 
was nothing real except Ens One, permanent, and unchange- 
able : that all change was unreal, apparent, illusory, not capable 
of being certainly known, but only matter of uncertain opinion 
or estimation. 

The one main theme intended for examination here (as So- 
Piato here krates 3 expressly declares) is the doctrine That 
getter three Cognition is sensible perception. Nevertheless upon 
distinct all the three opinions, thus represented as cognate or 

theories, for . -, , . i A a i j. 1.1. i j.i i 

the purpose identical, 4 Sokrates bestows a lengthened comment 


l Plato, Thesetet. pp. 151 E 152 A. 
Thecetct OVK aAAo ri eanv 

TJ at<rT)<t$. . . . 

Sokrat. KtvSvveveis /a^vroi \6yov ov 

tavkov elpifiKeva.1 irepi eiri<rTTq/j,ris, aAA* 
v eAeye KCU npcorayopas rpoirov S e 
T t v a. aAAov etprjKe TO. avra 
TdUTa. 4>i7<rt yap irov THavTwv 
XpTjjixaTwi' fie T p ov avQpMTrov 
etrai, Ttav ju, e v OVTWV, u> 5 can 
T &v 8< M,>J 6 v r a> v, d)S OVK 
e <r T i v. 'Aveyv wKa? yap TTOV ; 
Thecetfa. ' A.veyv<aKa KOL TroAAaKi?. 
Sokrat. QVKOVV OUTW TTW^ \eyei, to? 
Ota ju.ev eKaarra eaol (^atVerai, rotavra <rriv /ttoi ola Se o-ot'^ rocaura Se 
a3 <roC- ai/0pco7ros Se <rv re *cdyw. 
Ttiecettit. Ae'yei yap o$v ovrwg. 
Here Plato appears to transcribe the 
words of Protagoras (compare p. 161 B, 
and the Kratylus, p. 386 A) which 
distinctly affirm the doctrine of Homo 
Mensura Man is the measure of all 
things, but do not affirm the doctrine, 
that Knowledge is sensible perception. 
The identification between the two 
doctrines is asserted by Plato himself 
It is Plato who asserts ' ' that Protagoras 

affirmed the same doctrine in another 
manner," citing afterwards the manner 
in which he supposed Protagoras to 
affirm it. If there had been in the 
treatise of Protagoras any more ex- 
press or peremptory affirmation of the 
doctrine " that knowledge is sensible 
perception," Plato would probably have 
given it here. 

2 Plato, Thewtet. p. 152 E. *al irep! 
TOVTOU Trdi/Tes e*js ot o~o</>oi TrArjv 
II ap fj.ev CSov fu/u.<f>ep'o'0u>i', IIp&>- 
rayopa? re Kai 'HpaAeiros ai 'E/xireSo- 

K\7)S, Kttl TSiV TTOUJTtOV Ot a*pOl TT9? 

7rot>7<re(os c/carepa^, fcw/uiwSta? , fxei/ 'Em'- 
Yap/u.0?, rpaywSta? 5e'O/u.i7pos. 

3 Plato, Thea-tet. p. 103 A. 

4 Plato, TheretSt.j?. 160 D. t Sokrat. 
Ilay/caAws apa crot etprjrat on etnarrifjiri 
OVK a\Ao Tt earn/ rf atcr0rjo*ts at c t s 

v Q^u.7jpoi> KoL 'HpaicAeiTOi' KOLI nav TO 
TOIOVTOV (^vAov, otov pevjjtara Ktveta^at 
ra travra. Kara Se UptaTcnyopav rbv 
(TO^TaTOV, iravTotv \pr)iJ.a.T{>)v avOputrrov 
fi.4rpov ctvat Kara 5e eatrijTOf, TOVT&V 
oifrw? kx^vrotv, aitrQrjcriv iri<rTr)fi.r)v yt'y- 



(occupying a half of the dialogue) in conversation, of confuting 

principally with Thesetetus, but partly also with he also pro- 

Theodorus. His strictures are not always easy to u?ge what 

follow with assurance, because he often passes with can be said 

... . - i /.Ti i in favour of 

little notice from one to the other of the three doc- them. Diffi- 

trines which he is examining : because he himself, i w m g his 
though really opposed to them, affects in part to take exposition 
them up aiid to suggest arguments in their favour : and further 
because, disclaiming all positive opinion of his own, he some- 
times leaves us in doubt what is his real purpose whether to 
expound, or to deride, the opinions of others whether to en- 
lighten Theaetetus, or to test his power of detecting fallacies. 1 
We cannot always distinguish between the ironical and the 
serious. Lastly, it is a still greater difficulty, that we have not 
before us either of the three opinions as set forth by their proper 
supporters. There remains no work either of Protagoras or of 
Herakleitus : so that we do not clearly know the subject matter 
upon which Plato is commenting nor whether these authors 
would have admitted as just the view which he takes of their 
opinions. 2 

It is not improbable that the three doctrines, here put together 
by Plato and subjected to a common scrutiny, may The doc- 
have been sometimes held by the same philosophers. 

Nevertheless, the language 3 of Plato himself shows is coninlete- 

, , , ^ , ^ i re 11 11 ly distinct 

us that Protagoras never expressly afhrmed knowledge from the 

to be sensible Perception : and that the substantial frkSs d The 

identity between this doctrine, and the different doc- identiflca- 

. . .. i i T j j i 11 tionofthem 

trine maintained by Protagoras, is to be regarded as a as one and 

construction put upon the two by Plato. That the *nf 8 J e . is 

theories of Herakleitus and Ernpeclokles differed structive 

1 See the answer of Thesetdtus and 
the words of Sokrates following, p. 
157 C. 

2 It would be hardly necessary to 
remark, that when Plato professes to 
put a pleading into the mouth of Pro- 
tagoras (pp. 165-160) we have no other 
real speaker than Plato himself, if 
commentators did not often forget this. 
Steinhart indeed tells us (Einleit. zum 
Thesetdt. pp. 36-47) positively that 
Plato in this pleading keeps in the 
most accurate manner (auf das gen- 
aueste) to the thoughts of Protagoras, 

perhaps even to his words. How 
Steinhart can know this I am at a loss 
to understand. To me it seems very 
improbable. The mere circumstance 
that Plato forces into partnership three 
distinct theories, makes it probable 
that he did not adhere to the thoughts 
or language of any one of them. 

3 See TheaetSt. p. 152 A. This is 
admitted (to be a construction put by 
Plato himself) by Steinhart in his note 
7, p. 214, Einleitung zum Thesetetus, 
though he says that Plato's construc- 
tion is the right one. 


the inter- materially from each other, we know certainly : the- 
Kato him- theory of each, moreover, differed from the doctrine- 
seM of Protagoras " Man is the measure of all things ". 

How this last doctrine was defended by its promulgator, we 
cannot say. But the defence of it noway required him to main- 
tain That knowledge is sensible perception. It might be con- 
sistently held by one who rejected that definition of knowledge. 1 
And though Plato tries to refute both, yet the reasonings 
which he brings against one do not at all tell against the other. 
The Protagorean doctrine Man is the measure of all things 

is simply the presentation in complete view of a 
Explana- * *. P i - , i 

tionqfthe common fact uncovering an aspect ot it which the 

Protagoras recerve( l phraseology hides. Truth and Falsehood 
Homo have reference to some believing subject and the- 
ens ' words have no meaning except in that relation. Pro- 
tugoras brings to view this subjective side of the same com- 
plex fact, of which Truth and Falsehood denote the objective 
side. He refuses to admit the object absolute the pretended 
thing in itself Truth without a believer. His doctrine main- 
tains the indefeasible and necessary involution of the per- 
cipient mind in every perception of the concipient inind in 
every conception of the cognizant mind in every cognition. 
Farther, Protagoras acknowledges many distinct believing or 
knowing Subjects : and affirms that every object known must 
be relative to (or in his language, measured by) the knowing 
Subject : that every cognitum must have its cognoscens, and 
every cognoscibile its cognitionis capax: that the words have no 
meaning unless this be supposed : that these two names designate 
two opposite poles or aspects of the indivisible fact of cognition 
actual or potential not two factors, which are in themselves 
separate or separable, and which come together to make a com- 
pound product. A man cannot in any case get clear of or discard 
his own mind as a Subject. Self is necessarily omnipresent ;. 

i Dr. Bouth, in a note upon his sustulisse videtur." 
edition of the Euthydemus of Plato The definition here given by Routh 

(p. 286 C) observes : " Protagoras is correct as far as it goes, though too 

docebat, Havrw xp^ar^v ^erpov narrow. But it is sufficient to exhibit 

avOpuirov W ?S>v fuv ovrtav, ds eem the Protagorean doctrine as quite 

T*ii/ N M ovT<av, ws ovK <TTi. Qua distinct from the other doctrine, on 

quidem opinione qualitatum sensilium eTrio-njiuwj OVK a\\o ri e<mv ^ at(r0rr~ 

sine animi perceptione existentiam <rt$. 


concerned in every moment of consciousness, and equally con- 
cerned in all, though more distinctly attended to in some than in 
others. 1 The Subject, self, or Ego, is that which all our moments 
of consciousness have in common and alike : Object is that in 
which they do or may differ although some object or other there 
always must be. The position laid down by Descartes Cogito, 
ergo sum might have been stated with equal truth Cogito, ergo 
est (cogitatum aliquid): sum cogitans est cogitatum are two 
opposite aspects of the same indivisible mental fact cogitatio. 
In some cases, doubtless, the objective aspect may absorb our 
-attention, eclipsing the subjective : in other cases, the subjective 
attracts exclusive notice : but in all cases and in every act of 
consciousness, both x are involved as co-existent and correlative. 
That alone exists, to every man, which stands, or is believed by 
him to be capable of standing, in some mode of his consciousness 
as an Object correlative with himself as a Subject, If he believes 
in its existence, his own believing mind is part and parcel of such 
fact of belief, not less than the object believed in : if he dis- 
believes it, his own disbelieving mind is the like. Consciousness 
in all varieties has for its two poles Subject and Object : there 
cannot be one of these poles without the opposite pole north 
without south any more than there can be concave without 
convex (to use a comparison familiar with Aristotle), or front 

i In regard to the impossibility of nothing but ideas and phantasms, 

carrying abstraction so far as to discard happening internally to him that 

the thinking subject, see Hobbes, imagineth, yet they will appear as if 

Computation or Logic, ch. vii. 1. they were external and not at all 

"In the teaching of natural philo- depending upon any power of the 
sophy I cannot begin better than from mind. And these are the things to 
privation ; that is, from feigning the which he would, give names and sub- 
world to be annihilated. But if such tract them from, and compound them 
annihilation of all things be supposed, with one another. For seeing that 
it may perhaps be asked what would after the destruction of all other things 
remain for any man (whom only I except I suppose man still remaining, and 
from this universal annihilation of things) namely that he thinks, imagines, and 
to consider as the subject of philosophy, remembers, there can be nothing for 
or at all to reason upon ; or what to him to think of but what is past. . . . 
give names unto for ratiocination's sake. Now things may be considered, that 

"I say, therefore, there would remain is, be brought into account, either as 
to that man ideas of the world, and of internal accidents of our mind, in which 
all such bodies as he had, before their manner we consider them when the 
annihilation, seen with his eyes, or question is about some faculty of the 
perceived by any other sense ; that is mind : or, as species of external things, 
to say, the memory and imagination of not as really existing, but appearing only 
magnitudes, motions, sounds, colours, to exist, or to have a being without us. 
&c., as also of their order and parts. And in this manner we are now to con- 
All which things, though they be sider them." 


without back : which are not two things originally different and 
coming into conjunction, but two different aspects of the same 
indivisible fact. 

In declaring that " Man is the measure of all things " Prota- 
Perpetual goras affirms that Subject is the measure of Object, 
o?lui?ect n or ^ at evei 7 object i s relative to a correlative Sub- 
with Object ject. When a man affirms, believes, or conceives, an 
and e corre- object as existing, his own believing or concipient 
late. mind is one side of the entire fact. It may be the 

dark side, and what is called the Object may be the light side, of 
the entire fact : this is what happens in the case of tangible and 
resisting substances, where Object, being the light side of the 
fact, is apt to appear all in all : l a man thinks of the Something 
which resists, without attending to the other aspect of the fact 
of resistance, viz. : his own energy or pressure, to which resist- 
ance is made. On the other hand, when we speak of enjoying 
any pleasure or suffering any pain, the enjoying or suffering 
Subject appears all in all, distinguished plainly from other 
Subjects, supposed to be not enjoying or suffering in the same 
way : yet it is no more than the light side of the fact, of which 
Object is the dark side. Each particular pain which we suffer 
has its objective or differential peculiarity, distinguishing it from 
other sensations, correlating with the same sentient Subject. 

The Protagorean dictum will thus be seen, when interpreted 
Such rela- correctly, to be quite distinct from that other doctrine 
lelstniVin with whicn Plato identifies it: that Cognition is 
regard to nothing else but sensible Perception. If, rejecting 
cinative this last doctrine, we hold that cognition includes 
timiso?" mental elements distinct from, though co-operating 
each indivi- with, sensible perception the principle of relativity 

dual, than 1 . , ' 1 . * / .,/ , , L . , , , J 

in regard to laid down by Protagoras will not be the less true, 
pientfcapa- "^^ intellectual activity my powers of remembering, 
cities. imagining, ratiocinating, combining, &c., are a part of 

citur." (Cassiodorus, De Anima, c. 1, must be ttye annihilation of both." 

p. 594, in the edition of his Opera (F. W. Farrar, Chapters on Language, 

Ouania, Venet. 1729). c. 23, p. 292 : which chapter contains 

"In the primitive dualism of con- more on the same topic, well deserving 

sciousness, the Subject and Object of perusal.) 


ray mental nature, no less than my powers of sensible percep- 
tion : my cognitions and beliefs must all be determined by, or 
relative to, this mental nature : to the turn and development 
which all these various powers have taken in my individual 
case. However multifarious the mental activities may be, each 
man has his own peculiar allotment and manifestations thereof,, 
to which his cognitions must be relative. Let us grant (with 
Plato) that the Nous or intelligent Mind apprehends intelligible 
Entia or Ideas distinct from the world of sense : or let us assume 
that Kant and Reid in the eighteenth century, and M. Cousin 
with other French writers in the nineteenth, have destroyed the 
Lockian philosophy, which took account (they say) of nothing 
but the d posteriori element of cognition and have established 
the existence of other elements of cognition d priori: intuitive 
beliefs, first principles, primary or inexplicable Concepts of 
Reason. 1 Still we must recollect that all such d priori Concepts, 
Intuitions, Beliefs, &c., are summed up in the mind : and that 
thus each man's mind, with its peculiar endowments, natural or 
supernatural, is still the measure or limit of his cognitions, ac- 
quired and acquirable. The Entia Rationis exist relatively to 

i See M. Jouffroy, Preface a sa Tra- la meme, et demeure toujours inaur- 

duction desCEuvresde Reid, pp. xcvii.- montable," p. cxc. Compare p. xcvii. 

ccxiv. of the same Preface. 

M. Jouffroy, following in the steps M. Pascal Galuppi (in his Lettres 

of Kant, declares these a priori beliefs Philosophiques sur les vicissitudes de 

or intuitions to be altogether relative la Philosophic, translated from the 

to the human mind. "Kant, con- Italian by M. Peisse, Paris, 1844) 

siderant que les conceptions de la raison though not agreeing in this variety of 

sont des croyances aveugles auxquelles d priori philosophy, agrees with Kant 

notre esprit se sent fatalement de"ter- in declaring the d priori element of 

mine par .sa nature, en conclut qu'elles cognition to be purely subjective, and 

sont relatives a cette nature : que si the objective element to be d posteriori 

notre nature etait autre, elles pour- (Lett. xiv. pp. 337-338), or the facts 

raient etre differentes : que par con- of sense and experience. " L'ordre d 

sequent, elles n'ont aucune valeur priori, que Kant appelle transcendental, 

absolue : et qu'ainsi notre verite", notre est pnrement ide*al,et depourvu de toute 

science, notre certitude, sont une realite*. Je vis, qu'en fondant la con- 

ve'rite, une science, une certitude, pure- naissance sur 1'ordre d priori, on arrive 

ment subjective, purement huraame necessairement au scepticisrne : et je 

a laquelle nous sommes d6termin6s & reconnus que la doctrine Ecossaise est 

nous tier par notre nature, mais qui ne la mere Idgitime du Criticisme Kantien, 

supporte pas 1'examon et n'a aucune et par consequent, du scepticisme, qui 

valeur objective " (p. clxvii.) . . . "C'est est la consequence de la philosophic 

ce que re'pe'te Kant quand il soutient critique. Je considerai comme de haute 

que Ton ne peut objectiver le subjectif: importance ce probleme de Kant. II 

c*est a dire, faire que la veritd humaine convient de determiner ce qu'il y a 

cesse d'etre humaine, puisque la raison d'objectif, et ce qu'il y a de subjectif, 

qui la trouve est humaine. On peut dans la connaissance. Les Empiriques 

exprimer de vingt inanieres differentes n'admettent dans la connaissance d' 

cette impossibility : elle reste toujonrs autres eleraens que les objectifs," &c. 




Ratio, as the Entia Perceptionis exist relatively to Sense. This 
is a point upon which Plato himself insists, in this very dialogue. 
You do not, by producing this fact of innate mental intuitions, 
eliminate the intuent mind ; which must be done in order to 
establish a negative to the Protagorean principle. 1 Each intui- 
tive belief, whether correct or erroneous whether held unani- 
mously by every one semper et ubique, or only held by a propor- 
tion of mankind is (or would be, if proved to exist) a fact of our 

i See this point handled in Sextus 
Empiric, adv. Mathemat. viii. 356-362. 
We may here cite a remark of Sim- 
plikius in his Commentary on the 
Categories of Aristotle (p. 64, a. in 
8chol. Brandis). Aristotle (Do Anima, 
in. 2, 426, a. 19 ; Categor. p. 7, b. 23) 
lays down the doctrine that in most 
cases Relata or (TO. n-pos xt) are "simul 

Natura, /cat orvvavaipei": but 

that in some Relata this is not true : 
for example, TO e7ri(m?T&v is relative to 
cTTtcrTij/nTj, yet still it would seem prior 
to eTrto-TTjfjnj (TrpoVepoi/ av S6eie rr}s 
eti>cu). There cannot be 

j Without SOUie eTricrnjToV : hut 

there may be eiricrrrjTbv without any 
en-ierTrjuxTj. There are few things, if 
any (he says), in which the eirto-Tyrbv 
(cognoscibile) is simul naturd with 
eTTKmj/ATj (or cognitio), and cannot be 
without it. 

Upon which Simplikius remarks, 
What are these few things? TiW 5e 
Ta oAiya ecrriV, e<' &v a/xa TO? eTTKr-njTW 
fj e7rt(TTT7jw,Tj eoTiV ; Ta avev vArjs, ra 
voyrd, (ifJia. TTJ KOLT' evepyeCav ael e<rrw(Tf7 


rotavTTj aet ai/w fj,evov(ra, . . . etre at 
kv TO? tear' evepyfiav v<*> et rts Kai T^V 
voijcrtv eKetVTjv CTTIOTTTJ/ULYJI' e'Aoiro xaAetv. 
Svi/arat 6e icai 6ta rxjv rvtv KOIVO>^ 
virovraa-iv etptjo-^at, r^v e^ a^aipeVews 
a/u.a yap rtf UTrotrrdcrei rovnav Kal v\ 
j eartV. aAijfles Se Kal kiri TWV 
J' rtav re tv -rtf <f>avra<ria 

KO.I TWV TX Vi ' T ^ v ' ^t jia Y<*P X^t tal P a /cat 

17 eirtorriiJLirj \ijnaipa?. 

We see from hence that Simplikius 
recognises Concepts, Abstractions, and 
Fictions, to be dependent on the Con- 
ceiving, Abstracting, Imagining, Mind 
as distinguished from objects of Sense, 
which he does not recognise as de- 
pendent in the like manner. He agrees 
in the doctrine of Protagoras as to the 
former, but not as to the latter. This 
illustrates what I have affirmed, That 
the Protagorean doctrine of " Homo 
Mensura" is not only unconnected with 

the other principle (that Knowledge is 
resolvable into sensible perception) to 
which Aristotle and Plato would trace 
it but that there is rather a repugnance 
between the two. The difficulty of 
proving the doctrine, and the reluctance 
to admit it, is greatest in the case of 
material objects, least in the case of 
Abstractions, and General Ideas. Yet 
Aristotle, in reasoning against the 
Protagorean doctrine (Metaphysic. V. 
pp. 1009-1010, &c.) treats it like Plato, 
as a sort of corollary from the theoiy 
that Cognition is Sensible Percep- 

Simplikius farther observes (p. 65, 
b. 14) that Aristotle is not accurate 
in making fTno-Tyrbv correlate with 
eTrtorrrj/oiTj : that in Relata, the potential 
correlates with the potential, and the 
actual with the actual. The Cog- 
noscible is correlative, not with actual 
cognition (eTrto-r^/xY)) but with potential 
Cognition, or with a potential Cog- 
noscens. Aristotle therefore is right 
in saying that there may be kiria-rrirbv 
without C7n,<m7/u.>7, but this docs not 
prove what he wishes to establish. 

Themistius, in another passage of the 
Aristotelian Scholia, reasoning against 
Boethus, observes to the same effect as 
Simplikius, that in relatives, the actual 
correlates with the actual, and the 
potential with the potential : 

KatVoi, </>rj<n ye 6 BOTJ^OS, ovSev 
KcoAvet rov e?rat /cat Si'va TOU 
apiQiJiovvTOS, &<rirep ol/xat TO aitrOrfTov 
Kal &i\a. TOV atcrda.voiJ.evov ' (r^aAAerat 
Se, a/*a yap TO. Trpos ri, ^Kal ra 
Trpb? TO. fivvajnet wcrre ei JU.TJ Kal dpifyxij- 
TIK<$V, ovSe TO aptfl/LiijToi' (Scliol. ad 
Aristot. Physic, iv. p. 223, a. p. 393, 
Schol. Brandis). 

Compare Aristotel. Metaphysic. M. 
1087, a. 15, about TO ex-ia-rao-Bai SwafMi, 
and rb ento-racrQai evepyeta. 

About the essential co-existence of 
relatives Sublatouno, tollitur alterum 
see also Sextus Empiric, adv. Mathe- 
maticos, vii. 395, p. 449, Fabric. 




nature ; capable of being looked at either on the side of the 
believing Subject, which is its point of community with all other 
parts of our nature or on the side of the Object believed, which 
is its point of difference or peculiarity. The fact with its two 
opposite aspects is indivisible. Without Subject, Object vanishes : 
without Object (some object or other, for this side of the fact is 
essentially variable), Subject vanishes. 

That this general doctrine is true, not merely respecting the 
facts of sense, but also respecting the facts of mental Evidence 
conception, opinion, intellection, cognition may be p^i^m- 
seen by the reasoning of Plato himself in other dia- plication of 
- TT f 11 -ni j. i Subject and 

logues. How, for example, does Plato prove, in his Object, in 

Timseus, the objective reality of Ideas or Forms? thelntem- 
He infers them from the subjective facts of his own g iblt) world. 
mind. The subjective fact called Cognition (he argues) is 
generically different from the subjective fact called True Opinion : 
therefore the Object correlating with the One must be distinct 
from the Object correlating with the other : there must be a 
Noumenon or VOTJTOV n correlating with Nous, distinct from the 
Soao-roi/ TL which correlates with Sofa. 1 So again, in the Phse- 
don, 2 Sokrates proves the pre-existence of the human soul from 
the fact that there were pre-existent cognizable Ideas : if there 
were knowable Objects, there must also have been a Subject 

1 Plato, Timseus, p. 51 B-E, compare 
[Republic, v. p. 477. 

See this reasoning of Plato set forth 
in Zeller, Die Phil, der Griech. vol. ii. 
pp. 412-416, ed. 2nd. 

Nous, according to Plato (Tim. 51 E), 
belongs only to the Gods and to a select 
few among mankind. It is therefore 
only to the Gods and to these few men 
that NoijTct exist. To the rest of man- 
kind NoTjTa are non-apparent and non- 

2 Plato, Phsedon, pp. 76-77. Z<nj 
avoyfcn) ravTot T (Ideas or Forms^ 

etvou, icai ras qjuerepa? i/n/xa? irpiv /cat 
Y)IJMS yeyoveva.1 *al el /UTJ ravra, ovSe 
T<x6>. 'Yrrep^uws, C<TJ 6 2U/u./u'as, Soicet 
ftot rj avr5) avaym) eivcu, teat elf ica\6t> 
ye KtLTa4>evyei, 6 Xoyos is TO o/noi'w? 
elvaj. rriy re ^v\n v ~hp*>v wpt" ytvccrOat, 
i7/aa? /cat rffv ovcriav $iv <rv wv Aeyet?. 

Compare p. 92 E of the same dialogue 
with the notes of Wyttenbach and 
Heindorf " Haecautem ovaialdearum, 

rerum intellifribilium. avT>}s tirrlv (sc. 
T^S ^vx^?) ut hoc loco dicitur, est 
propria et possessio animee nostrm," 

About the essential implication of 
NoOs with the NOTJT<X, as well as of TO 
Soao/ with TO. 8oa{6y.<va t and of rb 
alcrQavofJifvov with TO. altrOijTa, see Plu- 
tarch, I>c Animae Procreat. in Timreo, 
pp. 1012-1024 ; and a curious passage 
from Joannes Philoponus ad Aristot. 
Physica, cited by Karsten in his Com- 
mentatio De Empedoclis Philosophia, 
p. 372, and Olympiodorus ad Platon. 
Phsedon. p. 21. rbv vovv ^a/nei/ aKpt- 
/3as yivitxricciv, Si6ri, OVTO? <TTt TO 


Sydenham observes, in a note upon 
his translation of the Phil6bus (note 
76, p. 118), "Being Intelligent and 
Being Intelligible are not only cor- 
relatives, but are so in their very 
essence : neither of them can be at all, 
without the Being of the other". 




Cognoscens or Cognitionis capax. The two are different aspects 
of one and the same conception : upon which we may doubtless 
reason abstractedly under one aspect or under the other, though 
they cannot be separated in fact. Now Both these two in- 
ferences of Plato rest on the assumed implication of Subject and 
Object. 1 

In truth, the Protagorean measure or limit is even more 
plainly applicable to our mental intuitions and men' 
tal processes (remembering, imagining, conceiving, 
comparing, abstracting, combining of hypotheses, 
transcendental or inductive) than to the matter of our 
sensible experience. 2 In regard to the Entia Rationis, 
divergence between one theorist and another is quite 
^ remarkable as the divergence between one perci- 
pient and another in the most disputable region of 
Entia Perceptionis. Upon the separate facts of sense, there is a 
nearer approach to unanimity among mankind, than upon the 
theories whereby theorising men connect together those facts to 
their own satisfaction. An opponent of Protagoras would draw 
his most plausible arguments from the undisputed facts of sense. 
He would appeal to matter and what are called its primary 

The Pro- 
measure is 
even more 
shown in 
to the 
world than 
in reference 
to sense. 

1 1 think that the inference in the 
Phrcdon is not necessary to prove that 
conclusion, nor in itself just. For when 
I speak of Augustus and Antony as 
having once lived, and as having 
fought'the battle of Actium, it is noway 
necessary that I should believe myself 
to have been then alive and to have 
seen them : nor when I speak of civil 
war as being now carried on in the 
United States of America, is it neces- 
sary that I should believe myself to be 
or to have been on the spot as a per- 
cipient witness. 1 believe, on evidence 
which appears to me satisfactory, that 
both these are real facts : that is, if I 
had been at Actium on the day of the 
battle, or if I were now in the United 
States, I should see and witness the 
facts here affirmed. These latter words 
describe the subjective side of the fact, 
without introducing any supposition 
that I have been myself present and 

2 Bacon remarks that the processes 
called mental or intellectual are quite 
as much relative to man as those called 

sensational or perceptive. " Idola Tri- 
bfls sunt funuata in ips4 naturft hu- 
mana. FalsO enim asseritur, Sensum 
humanum esse mensuram rerum : quin 
contra, omnes perceptiones, tarn Sensus 
quani Mentis, sunt ex analogic hominis, 
mm ex analog!;! Universi." 

Nemesius, the Christian Platonist, 
has a remark bearing upon this ques- 
tion. He says that the lower animals 
have their intellectual movements all 
determined by Nature, which acts 
alike in all the individuals of the 
species, but that the human intellect is 
not wholly determined by Nature; it 
has a freer range, larger stores of ideas, 
and more varied combinations : hence 
its manifestations are not the same in 
all, but different in different individuals 
eAev#epoi> yap TI Kal avTeov<riov rb 
\oyt.K.6v, oBfv o\>x fv <cal TO.VTOV iratriv 
epyov avflpunrois, a>s CKOLOTW tSi rwv 
aAoywi/ wu>v <>v<ret yap fxoi-TJ ra roiavra. 
KiveiTai, TO. 8% v(m ofioiaK Trupa, iraviv 
fcrnv ' at 5e AoyiKal rrpaets aAAai Trap" 
aAAots Kal OVK avay/ojs at a^Tat Trap a 

ira(nv(De Nat. Horn., c. ii. p. 53. ed. 


qualities, as refuting the doctrine. For in describing mental 
intuitions, Mind or Subject cannot well be overlaid or ignored : 
but in regard to the external world, or material substance with 
its primary qualities, the objective side is so lighted up and 
magnified in the ordinary conception and language and the 
subjective side so darkened and put out of sight that Object 
appears as if it stood single, apart, and independent. 

A man, conceives objects, like houses and trees, as existing 
when he does not actually see or touch them, just as much as 
when he docs see or touch them. He conceives them as existing 
independent of any actual sensations of his own : and he pro- 
ceeds to describe them as independent altogether of himself an a 
Subject or as absolute, not relative, existences. But this dis- 
tinction, though just as applied in ordinary usage, becomes 
inadmissable when brought to contradict the Protagoreaii doc- 
trine ; because the speaker professes to exclude, what cannot be 
excluded, himself as concipient Subject. 1 It is he who conceives 

1 Bishop Berkeley observes : argument is enforced in Berkeley's 

"But, say you, surely there is no- First Dialogue between Ilylas and 

thing easier than to imagine trees, for Philonous, pp. 145-146 of the same 

instance, in a park, or books existing volume. 

in a closet, and nobody by to perceive I subjoin a passage from the work 

them. I answer, you may so there of Professor Bain on Psychology, where 

is no difficulty in it. But what is all this difficult subject is carefully ana- 

this, more than framing in your mind lysed (The Senses and the Intellect, 

certain ideas which you call bin>k* and p. 370). " There is no possible know- 

trees, and at the same time omitting to ledge of the world except in reference 

frame the idea of any one that may to our minds. Knowledge means a 

perceive them? Bat do not you, your- state of mind: the knowledge of ma- 

sflf perceive or think of titan, ail the while? terial things is a mental thing. We 

This therefore is nothing to the pur- are incapable of discussing the exist- 

pose. It only shows you have the ence of an independent material world: 

power of imagining or forming ideas the very act is a contradiction. We 

in your mind : but it doth not show can speak only of a world presented to 

that you can conceive it possible the our own minds,. By an illusion of 

objects of your thought may exist language we fancy that we are capable 

without the mind. To 'nude out tins, of contemplating a world which does 

it is necessary that you conceive them ex- not enter into our own mental exist- 

isting unconceived or unthouyld of, which ence : but the attempt belies itself, 

is a manifest repugnancy. When we do for this contemplation is an effort of 

our utmost to conceive the existence mind." 

of external bodies, we are all the while " Solidity, extension, space the 

only contemplating our own ideas, foundation properties of the material 

But the mind, taking no notice of ilsdf, world mean, as has been said above, 

is deluded to think it can and doth con- certain movements and energies of our 

ceive bodies existing unthought of or own bodies, and exist in our minds in 

without the mind, though at the same the shape of feelings of force, allied 

time they are apprehended by or exist in with visible and tactile, and other 

itself." sensible impressions. The sense of the 

Berkeley, Principles of Human external is the consciousness of parti - 

Knowledge, sect, xxiii. p. 34, ed. of cular energies and activities of our 

Berkeley's Works, 1820. The same own." 




absent objects as real and existing, though he neither sees nor 
touches them : he believes fully, that if he were in a certain 

(P. 376). "We seem to have no 
better way of assuring ourselves and 
all mankind, that with the conscious 
movement of opening the eyes there 
will always be a consciousness of light, 
than by saying that the light exists as 
an independent fact, without any eyes 
to see it. But if we consider the fact 
fairly we shall see that this assertion 
errs, not simply in being beyond any 
evidence that we can have, but also in 
being a self-contradiction. We are 
affirming that to have an existence out 
of our minds, which we cannot know 
but as in our minds. In words we 
assert independent existence, while in 
the very act of doing so we contradict 
ourselves. Even a possible world im- 
plies a possible mind to conceive it, 
just as much as an actual world im- 
plies an actual mind. The mistake of 
the common modes of expression on 
this matter is the mistake of supposing 
the abstractions of the rnjnd to have a 
separate and independent existence. 
Instead of looking upon the doctrine 
of an external and independent world 
as a generalisation or abstraction 
grounded on our particular experiences, 
summing up the past and predicting 
the future, we have got into the way 
of maintaining the abstraction to be an 
independent reality, the foundation, or 
cause, or origin, of all these experi- 

To the same purpose Mr. Mansel 
remarks in his Bampton Lectures on 
"The Limits of Religious Thought," 
page 52 : 

"A second characteristic of Con- 
sciousness is, that it is only possible in 
the form of a relation. There must be 
a Subiect or person conscious, and an 
Object or thing of which he is con- 
scious. There can be no consciousness 
without the union of these two factors ; 
and in that union each exists only as 
it is related to the other. The subject 
is a subject only in so far as it is con- 
scious of an object : the object is an ob- 
ject only in so far as it is apprehended 
oy a subject : and the destruction of 
either is the destruction of conscious- 
ness itself. It is thus manifest that 
a consciousness of the Absolute is 
equally self -contradictory with that of 
the Infinite. . . Our whole notion of 
Existence is necessarily relative, for it 
is existence as conceived by us. But 

Existence, as we conceive it, is but a 
name for the several ways in which 
objects are presented to our conscious- 
nessa general term embracing a 
variety of relations. . . To assume Ab- 
solute Existence as an object of 
thought is thus to suppose a relation 
existing when the related terms exist 
no longer. An object of thought exists, 
as such, in and through its relation to 
a thinker ; while the Absolute, as such, 
is independent of all relation." 

Dr. Henry More has also a passage 
asserting the essential correlation on 
which I am here insisting (Immor- 
tality of the Soul, ch. ii. p. 3). And 
Professor Ferrier, in his Institutes of 
Metaphysic, has given much valuable 
elucidation respecting the essential re- 
lativity of cognition. 

Though this note is already long, I 
shall venture to add from an eminent 
German critic Trendelenburg a pas- 
sage which goes to the same point. 

" Das Sein ist als die absolute Posi- 
tion erklart worden. Der Begriff des 
Seins drucke bios das aus : es werde 
bei dem einfachon Setzen eines Was 
sein Bewenden haben. Es hat sich 
hier die abstracte Vorstelhmg des Seins 
nur in eine verwandte Anschauung 
umgekleidet; clenn das G esetzte steht 
in dem Rauni da ; und insofern fordert 
die absolute Position schon den Begjriff 
des seiendem Etwas, das gesetzt wird. 
Fragt tfian welter, so ist in der absoluten 
Position schon derjenige mitgedacht, der 
da setzt. Das Sein wird also nicht 
unabhfingig aus sich selbst bestimmt, 
sondern zur Erklarung fin VerhtLltni&s 
zu der Thatlgkeit des Gcdankens her- 

Aehnlich wiirde jede von vorn 
herein versuchte Bestimmung des Den- 
kens ausfallen. Man wiirde es nur 
durch einen Bezug zu den Dingen 
erlautern konnen, welche in dem Den- 
ken Grund und Mass finden. Wir 
begeben uns daher jeder Erklarung, 
und setzen eine Vorstellung des Den- 
kens und Seins voraus, in der Hoff- 
nung dass beide mit jedem Schritt 
der IJntersuchung sich in sich selbst 
bestimmen werden. " " Indem wir Den- 
ken und Sein unterscheiden, fragen 
wir, wie ist es moglich, dass sich im 
Erkennen Denken und Sein vereinigt? 
Diese Vereinigung sprechen wir vorl&vflg 
als eine ThatsacJie aus, die das Theore- 


position near them, he would experience those appropriate sensa- 
tions of sight and touch, whereby they are identified. Though 
he eliminates himself as a percipient, he cannot eliminate himself 
as a concipient: i.e., as conceiving and believing. He can con- 
ceive no object without being himself the Subject conceiving, nor 
believe in any future contingency without being himself the 
Subject believing. He may part company with himself as per- 
cipient, but he cannot part company with himself altogether. 
His conception of an absent external object, therefore, when fully 
and accurately described, does not contradict the Protagorean 
doctrine. But it is far the most plausible objection which can be 
brought against that doctrine, and it is an objection deduced 
from the facts or cognitions of sense. 

I cannot therefore agree with Plato in regarding the Prota- 
gorean doctrine Homo Mensura as having any de- ob . ecfc 
pendance upon, or any necessary connection with, the always 
other theory (canvassed in the Theoctetus) which pro- stJbject^ 
n ounces cognition to be sensible perception. Objects Either 
of thought exist in relation to a thinking Subject ; as the other, 
Objects of sight or touch exist in relation to a seeing pjt^fad- 6 ' 
or touching Subject. And this we shall find Plato mitsthisin 
himself declaring in the Sophistes (where his Eleatic p 
disputant is introduced as impugning a doctrine substantially the 
same as that of Plato himself in the Phocdon, Timaeus, and else- 
where) as well as here in the Thesetetus. In the Sophistes, 
certain philosophers (called the Friends of Forms or Ideas) are 
noticed, who admitted that all sensible or perceivable existence 
(ywfvis Fientia) was relative to a (capable) sentient or per- 
cipient but denied the relativity of Ideas, and maintained that 
Ideas, Concepts, Intelligible Entia, were not relative but abso- 
lute. The Eleate combats these philosophers, and establishes 
against them That the Cogitable or Intelligible existence, Ens 
Eationis, was just as much relative to an Intelligent or Cogitant 
subject, as perceivable existence was relative to a Subject capable 
of perceiving That Existence, under both varieties, was nothing 
more than a potentiality, correlating with a counter-potentiality 

tiache wie da* Praktische beherrscht." ungen, sect. 3, pp. 103-104, Berlin, 
Trendelenburg, Logische Untersuch- 1840. 


(ro yvaHTT&v with, ro yvuHTTiKov, ro alcrBr^rbv witll ro al(r6r)TiK6v\ 
and never realised except in implication therewith. 1 

This doctrine of the Eleate in the Platonic Sophistes coincides 

with the Protagorean Homo Mmmra construed in 
presenta-" its true meaning : Object is implicated with, limited 
Protagorean or measure( ^ ty* Subject : a doctrine proclaiming the 
doctrine in relativeness of all objects perceived, conceived, known, 
conjunction r felt an d the omnipresent involution of the per- 
rakteitSm 6 " ce i y i n S> conceiving, knowing, or feeling, Subject : the 

object varying with the Subject. " As things appear 
to me, so they are to me : as they appear to you, so they are to 
you." This theory is just and important, if rightly understood 
and explained : but whether Protagoras did so explain or under- 
stand it, we cannot say ; nor does the language of Plato enable 
us to make out. Plato passes on from this theory to another, 
which he supposes Protagoras to have held without distinctly 
stating it : That there is no Ens distinguishable in itself, or per- 
manent, or stationary : that all existences are in perpetual ilux, 
motion, change acting and reacting upon each other, combining 
with or disjoining from each other. 2 

Turning to the special theory of Protagoras (Homo Mensura), 
Relativity an( ^ producing arguments, serious or ironical in its 
? f -IS 11 - defence, Sokrates says What you call colour has no 

described definite place or existence either within you or with- 
by him> out you. Tt is the result of the passing collision be- 
tween your eyes and the flux of things suited to act upon them. 

i Plato, Sophistes, pp. 247-248. words does not really refute what 

The view taken of this matter by Aristippus meant to affirm. Aristippus 

Mr. John Stuart Mill, in the third meant to affirm the Relative, and to 

chapter of the first Book of his System decline affirming anything beyond ; 

of Logic, is very instructive ; see espe- and in this Aristokles agrees, making 

daily pi>. C5-66 (ed. 4th). the doctrine even more comprehen- 

Aristippus (one of the Sokratici viri, sive by showing that Object as well 

contemporary of Plato) ami the Ky- as Subject are relative also ; impli- 

renaic sect affirmed the doctrine on. cated both with each other and in the 

fji6va TO. irdOi) KaraX^TrTo.. Aristokles ndOos. 
refutes them by saying that there can 

be no Trddos without both Object and " Plato, Theaetet. p. 152 D. 
Subject TTOLOVV and iracrxoi/. And he Though Plato states the grounds of 

goes on to declare that these three are this theory in his ironical way, as if it 

of necessary co-existence or consub- were an absurd fancy, yet it accident- 

stantiality. 'AXXa ^v dvayKY) ye rpia ally coincides with the largest views of 

ravra {rvi>v<J>t<rrao-0cu. TO re wdflos modern physical science. Absolute 

auro, ical TO iroioGv, /cat TO irdcrxov (ap. rest is unknown in nature : all matter 

Eusebium, Prsep. Ev. xiv. 19, 1). is in perpetual movement, molecular as 

I apprehend that Aristokles by these well as in masses. 


It is neither in the agent nor in the patient, but is something 
special and momentary generated in passing between the two. 
It will vary with the subject : it is not the same to you, to 
another man, to a dog or horse, or even to yourself at different 
times. The object measured or touched cannot be in itself either 
great, or white, or hot : for if it were, it would not appear 
different to another Subject. Nor can the Subject touching or 
measuring be in itself great, or white, or hot : for if so, it 
would always be so, and would not be differently modified when 
applied to a different object. Great, white, hot, denote no positive 
and permanent attribute either in Object or Subject, but a pass- 
ing result or impression generated between the two, relative to 
both and variable with either. 

To illustrate this farther (continues Sokrates) suppose we 
have here six dice. If I compare them with three R e i a ti on s 
other dice placed by the side of them, I shall call the are nothing 
. ,. * 1 7 7T - r 4. / i 1 i- in the object 

six dice more and double : if I put twelve other dice purely and 

by the side of them, I shall call the six fewer and JJ-J^Jj^ a 
half. Or take an old man and put a growing youth comparing 
by his side. Two years ago the old man was taller su Jec * 
than the youth : now, the youth is grown, so that the old man is 
the shorter of the two. But the old man, and the six dice, have 
remained all the time unaltered, and equal to themselves. How 
then can either of them become either greater or less? or how 
can either really be so, when they were not so before 1 2 

The illustration here furnished by Sokrates brings out forcibly 
the negation of the absolute, and the affirmation of Relativity 
universal relativity in all conceptions, judgments, and the c^mpar- 
predications, which he ascribes to Protagoras and ing Subject 

TT i i -^ mi T ,- ,1 T to another 

Herakleitus. The predication respecting the six dice object be- 
denotes nothing real, independent, absolute, inhering olufdirectiy 
in them : for they have under-gone no change. It is described, 
relative, and expresses a mental comparison made by me or some 
one else. It is therefore relative in two different senses : 1. To 
some other object with which the comparison of the dice is 

i Plato, Thesetet. pp. 153-154. o 6rj 2 Plato, Theaetet. pp. 154-165. Com- 

$Ka<rTov eti/at </>a/u,ev ^pw/aa, OVT TO trpoa- pare the reasoning in the Pheedon, pp. 

fioAAop OVT TO Trpoo-flaAAouei'Oi' CO-TOI. 96-97-101. 
i v * ..___*_< _. .../-__. I8lov vevrv(J 




made : 2. To me as comparing Subject, who determine the 
objects with which the comparison shall be made. 1 Though 
relativity in both senses is comprehended by the Protagorean 
affirmation Homo Mensura yet relativity in the latter sense is- 
all which that affirmation essentially requires. And this is true 
of all propositions, comparative or not whether there be or be 
not reference to any other object beyond that which is directly 
denoted. But Plato was here illustrating the larger doctrine 
which he ascribes to Protagoras in common with Herakleitus i 
and therefore the more complicated case of relativity might suit 
his purpose better. 

Sokrates now re-states that larger doctrine, in general terms, 
as follows. 

The universe is all flux or motion, divided into two immense 
Statement concurrent streams of force, one active, the other 
of the doc- passive ; adapted one to the other, but each including 
Herakleitus many varieties. One of these is Object : the other is, 
implicsiteit sentient, cognizant, concipient, Subject. Object as 
with that of well as Subject is, in itself and separately, indeter- 
goras. m ^ na ^ e an( j unintelligible a mere chaotic Agent or 
Patient. It is only by copulation and friction with each other 
that they generate any definite or intelligible result. Every 
such copulation, between parts adapted to each other, generates 
a twin offspring : two correlative and inseparable results in- 
finitely diversified, but always born in appropriate pairs : 2 a 

i The Aristotelian Category of Rela- 
tion (rot Trpbs TI, Categor. p. 6, a. 36) 
designates one object apprehended and 
named relatively to some other object 
as distinguished from object appre- 
hended and named not thus relatively, 
which Aristotle considers as per se 
*co0' avrd ttSthica Nikomach. i. p. 1096, 
a. 21). Aristotle omits or excludes 
relativity of the object apprehended 
to the percipient or concipient subject, 
which is the sort of relativity directly 
noted by the Protagorean doctrine. 

Occasionally Aristotle passes from 
relativity in the former sense to 
relativity in the latter; as when he 

discusses iTKm)Tbi> and eTrttrr^M-rj, 

alluded to in one of my former notes 
on this dialogue. But he seems un- 
conscious of any transition. In the 
Categories, Object, as implicated with 

Subject, does not seem to have been 
distinctly present to his reflection. In 
the third book of the Metaphysica, 
indeed, he discusses professedly the 
opinion of Protagoras ; and among his 
objections against it, one is, that it 
makes everything relative or Trpbs rC 
(Metaph. r. p. 1011, a. 20, b. 5). Thia 
is hardly true in the sense which Trpbs 
rt bears as one of his Categories ; but 
it is true in the other sense to which I 
have adverted. 

A clear and full exposition of what 
is meant by the Relativity of Human 
Knowledge, will be found in Mr. John 
Stuart Mill's most recent work, * Exa- 
mination of Sir William Hamilton's* 
Philosophy,' ch. ii. pp. 6-15. 

2 Plato, Theeetet. p. 156 A. y rb 

irav jctyijcrt? %v, *ai aAAp Trap a royro 
ovfic'p, TT} 5c jeivi}<rews 6vo elSrj, 7iAi)0ec. 


definite perception or feeling, on the subjective side a definite 
thing perceived or felt, on the objective. There cannot be one of 
these without the other : there can be no objective manifestation 
without its subjective correlate, nor any subjective without its 
objective. This is true not merely about the external senses 
touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing but also about the internal, 
hot and cold, pleasure and pain, desire, fear, and all the countless 
variety of our feelings which have no separate names. 1 Each of 
these varieties of feeling has its own object co-existent and 
correlating with it. Sight, hearing, and smell, move and gene- 
rate rapidly and from afar ; touch and taste, slowly and only 
from immediate vicinity : but the principle is the same in all. 
Thus, e.g., when the visual power of the eye comes into reciprocal 
action with its appropriate objective agent, the result between 
them is, that the visual power passes out of its abstract and inde- 
terminate state into a concrete and particular act of vision the 
seeing a white stone or wood : while the objective force also 
passes out of its abstract and indeterminate state into concrete 
so that it is no longer whiteness, but a piece of white stone or 
wood actually seen. 2 

Accordingly, nothing can be affirmed to exist separately and 
by itself. All existences come only as twin and corre- Agent and 
lative manifestations of this double agency. In fact 
neither of these agencies can be conceived indepen- Ens. 
dently and apart from the other : each of them is a nullity with- 
out the other. 3 If either of them be varied, the result also will 
vary proportionally : each may be in its turn agent or patient, 
according to the different partners with which it comes into 
confluence. 4 It is therefore improper to say Such or such a 

/mey aneipov eKarepov, Svvafiiv rb ^v etre Atflos etre bnovv vve$i\ xp}/u.a 
iroteti/ t\ov t rb Se irdcrxeiv. 'E Se Ttj? \piaffQ^va(. rtf rotovrq) vpcu/nart. 

rovrtav ofxiAtas re Kal Tptyews 7rpb aA- Plato's conception of Ihe act of vision 

ArjXa ylyvcrtu. e/cyoi/a -Arj0et /mev anreipa, was That flre darted forth from the 

Biovfta Se TO i*ev aitrdrjroi/, rb Se altrOv)- eyes of the percipient and came into 

<rty, del (rvveK-rriirrovcra Kal ye>i//*eVij confluence or coalescence with fire ap- 

jwra TOV al<r0T)ToO. preaching from the perceived object 

i Plato, Thea?t6t. p. 166 B. (Plato, Timsens, pp. 45 C, 07 C). 

a Plato, Theaetet. p^ 156 E. ^ 6 pev 3 Plato, Theaetet. p. 157 A. eret 

o<>0oAju.6? apa. ov//eo>5 e/u.irAeu>$ eyevero itai rb iroiovv elvat ri KCU TO\ov a& 

Kal 6p< 6^ T<Sr teal eyevcro ov rt rt irrl ivbs voij<rat, ois <pa<n,v, ov* eti/oc 

o\ft if a\\a 6$0aA/u,bs b puv, rb Trayiw?. Ovre yap iroiovv e<rrC rt. vplv 

fii %vyyevvTi<rav rb xpw/xa Xev/coTrjTO? av r< irdo-xovri. gweWy ovr* ira<rxov, 

irepitir\ri<r6n Kal iy ev ro ov Av- irplv av Tp iroiovvn, <fec. 
KOT>J aw aXXa \evx6v, tire ^Aov 4 Plato, Theaetet. p. 157 A, TO T? 



thing exists. Existence absolute, perpetual, and unchangeable is 
nowhere to be found : and all phrases which imply it are incor- 
rect, though we are driven to use them by habit and for want of 
knowing better. All that is real is, the perpetual series of 
changeful and transient conjunctions; each Object, with a certain 
Subject, each Subject, with a certain Object. 1 This is true not 
merely of individual objects, but also of those complex aggre- 
gates rationally apprehended which receive generic names, man, 
animal, stone, &c. 2 You must not therefore say that any thing 
is, absolutely and perpetually, good, honourable, hot, white, hard, 
great but only that it is so felt or esteemed by certain subjects 
more or less numerous. 3 

The arguments advanced against this doctrine from the pheno- 
Arguments mena of dreams, distempers, or insanity, admit (con- 
f rom ed tinues Sokrates) of a satisfactory answer. A man who 
dreams, is dreaming, sick, or mad, believes in realities different 
maybe ' from, and inconsistent with, those which he would 
answered. "believe in when healthy. But this is because he is, 
under those peculiar circumstances, a different Subject, unlike 
what he was before. One of the two factors of the result being 
thus changed, the result itself is changed. 4 The cardinal prin- 
ciple of Protagoras the essential correlation, and indefeasible 
fusion, of Subject and Object, exhibits itself in a perpetual series 
of definite manifestations. To say that I (the Subject) perceive, 
is to say that I perceive some Object : to perceive and perceive 
nothing, is a contradiction. Again, if an Object be sweet, it 
must be sweet to some percipient Subject : sweet, but sweet to 
no one, is impossible. 5 Necessity binds the essence of the per- 
cipient to that of something perceived : so that every name 
which you bestow upon either of them implies some reference to 

rtvi vve\6bv teal iroiovv aAAw a$ jrpo<r- explanation which seems dictated by 

vecrbv rrda-xov dve^dv^. ' the last word elSo?. Yet I ani not sure 

1 Plato, ThefetiU. p. 157 A. ovSev that Plato does really mean here the 
Tvat $v avrb KaJB' auro, a\Xd nvi ael generic aggregates. He had before 
yiyvea-QaL, TO 5' etvai rfa.vra.xoQev e<upe- talked about sights, sounds, hot, cold, 
reov, &c. hard, &c., the separate sensations. He 

2 Plato, Thezetet. p. 157 B. Set 6* may perhaps here mean simply indi- 
cai Kara jae'pos OUTU> Xe'yeii' ccal Trepl vidual things as aggregates Or dOpoCg-- 
iroXXwv a9pot<rQVT(tiv, $ OT) adpoiVfiart /aara a mart, a stone, &C. 

av6po)ir6v re rMevTau. Kal \COov Kal ejeatr- 3 Plato, Theaetet. p. 157 E. 
TOV <w6i/ re *<u et8o*. 4 Plato, Thesetet. p. 159. 

In this passage I follow Heindorf 's 8 Plato, Theaetdt. p. 160 A, 




the other ; and no name can be truly predicated of either, which 
implies existence (either perpetual or temporary) apart from the 
other. 1 

Such is the exposition which Sokrates is here made to give, of 
the Protagorean doctrine. How far the arguments, Ex ogifcum 
urged by him in its behalf, are such as Protagoras ofthePro- 
hiniself either really urged, or would have adopted, latrine 1 , as 
we cannot say. In so far as the doctrine asserts given here 

i ... i T L - i cy ^- 4. i BySokrates, 

essential fusion and implication between bubject and is to a great 

Object, with actual multiplicity of distinct Subjects YoTcanSot 
denying the reality either of absolute and separate explain the 
Subject, or of absolute and separate Object 2 I think sciousness 
it true and instructive. We are reminded that when Jjeiit Su?> n 
we affirm any thing about an 01 >ject, there is always jectand 
(either expressed or tacitly implied) a Subject or Sub- Jec ' 
jects (one, many, or all), to whom the Object is what it is declared 
to bet This is the fundamental characteristic of consciousness, 
feeling, and cognition, in all their actual varieties. All of them 
are bi-polar or bi-lateral, admitting of being looked at either on 

1 Plato, Thesetet. p. 160 B. eTreirrep 
ijjU.wi' 17 avay/CTj rqv ovcriav crvvSel )U.eV, 
crvi'Set 6*e ouoei/i TO>I/ aAAcoc, ov6" av T^/AII/ 
avTot? ' aAA/fAots Srf AeirreTat crvcSe- 
6*e'cr0at (i. e. rbv ai<T9au6(j.evov and TO 
TTOtovv ai<r9dvecr9ai). "flcrre etTe r t s 
elvai rt oyo/xa^et, rivl el van, 

>7 T (. > 6 ?, 1J TTpOS T I, pT]TOV OLV- 

T <j, elre ylyvecr&ai' CLVTO Se 
c (Jv avTOv rtrj oi'Tj y tyv 6 /u.e v o v 
oure avrcji Ae/creov, OVT' aAA.ov 
AeyovTO? atroSeKreoi/. 

Compare Aristot. Metaphys. r. 6, p. 
1011, a. 23. 

2 Aristotle, in a passage of the 
treatise De Anima (hi. 1, 2-4-7-8, ed. 
Trendelenburg, p. 425, b. 25, p. 420, a. 
15-25, Bekk.), impugns an opinion of 
certain antecedent <f>vcrt6A.oyot whom 
he does not specify ; which opinion 
seems identical with the doctrine of 
Protagoras. These philosophers said, 
that (l there was neither white nor 
black without vision, nor savour with- 
out the sense of taste ". Aristotle says 
that they were partly right, partly 
wrong. They were right in regard to 
the actual, wrong in regard to the 
potential The actual manifestation 
of the perceived is one and the same 
with that of the percipient, though the 

two aro not the same logically in the 
view of the reflecting mind (17 6e TOT) 
aiadriTOv fvepyma /cat TTJ? aicrOrivews 17 
auTTj jaeV eo"Ti /cat jixi'a, TO 6* eli/ac ov 
ravr'ov auTats). But this is not true 
when we speak of them potentially 
5t^o>5 yap A.eyo/u,eVir}5 T^5 aicr^rjaews /cat 
TOV ato^TjTOV, Twi/ p,ev Kara 8vvafj.iv 
TMV Se tear' evepyeiav, tiri TOVTUIV ^v 
(TV/x/Sati/ei TO \ex@* v i ^ 7r '- ^* v cTfptov 
ov crv/a^atVet. 'AXA' eicelvoi a7rAa>s e\e- 
yov irepi ru>v A.eyo fj-evtav ov\ arrAtos. 

I think that the distinction, which 
Aristotle insists upon as a confutation 
of these philosophers, is not well 
founded. What he states, in very just 
language, about actiial perception is 
equally true about potential perception, 
As the present fact of actual perception 
implicates essentially a determinate 
percipient subject with a determinate 
perceived object, and admits of being 
looked at eitner from the one point 01 
view or from the other so the concept 
of potential perception implicates in 
like manner an indeterminate perceiv- 
able with an indeterminate subject 
competent to perceive. The perceiv- 
able or cogitable has no meaning 
except in relation to some Capax 
Percipiendi or Capax Cogitaitdi. 



the subjective or on the objective side. Comparisons and con- 
trasts, gradually multiplied, between one consciousness and 
another, lead us to distinguish the one of these points of view 
from the other. In some cases, the objective view is brought 
into light and prominence, and the subjective thrown into 
the dark and put out of sight : in other cases, the converse 
operation takes place. Sometimes the Ego or Subject is promi- 
nent, sometimes the Mecuin or Object. 1 Sometimes the Objective 
is as it were divorced from the Subject, and projected outwards, 
so as to have an illusory appearance of existing apart from and 
independently of any Subject. In other cases, the subjective 
view is so exclusively lighted up and conspicuous, that Object 
disappears, and we talk of a mind conceiving, as if it had no 
correlative Concept. It is possible, by abstraction, to indicate, to 

i The terms Ego and Mecum, to (iii. 4, 12, p. 430, a. 3, with the corn- 
express the antithesis of these two mentary of Simplikius p. 78, b. 17, 
\6y<a /JLOVOV X^P^TOL, are used by Pro- f. 19, a. 12). This is in other words 
f essor Ferrier in his very acute treatise, the Frotagorean doctrine That the 
Institutes of Metaphysic, pp. 93-96. mind is the measure of all existences ; 
The same antithesis is otherwise ex- and that this is even more true about 
pressed by various modern writers in voyra than about ala-Q^Ta. That doc- 
the terms Ego and non-Ego le moi et trine is completely independent of the 
le non-moi. I cannot think that this theory, that ^n-ion^ is <u<r0i7<n?. 
last is the proper way of expressing it. It is in conformity with this affirma- 
You do not want to negative the Ego, tion of Aristotle (partially approved 
but to declare its essential implication even by Cudworth see Mosheim's 
with a variable correlate ; to point out Transl. of Intell Syst. Vol. II. ch. viii. 
the bilateral character of the act of pp 27-28) q ^v\>? TO. ovra TTCOS ea-rt 
consciousness. The two are not merely iravra. that Mr. John Stuart Mill 
Relata secundum did but Relata secun- makes the following striking remark 
dum esse, to use a distinction recognised about the number of ultimate Laws of 
in the scholastic logic. Nature : 

The implication of Subject and " It is useful to remark, that the 

Object is expressed in a peculiar ultimate Laws of Nature cannot 

manner (though still clearly) by Ari- possibly be less numerous than the 

stotle in the treatise De Anima, iii. 8, distinguishable sensations or other 

1, 431, b. 21. 17 V/>VXT? TO. ovra TTWS feelings of our nature : those, I mean, 

ia-n ir&vra.' fj -yap ato-0TjTa ra ovra 17 which are distinguishable from one 

arl B' 17 ^jua-rqfXTj pev ra cm- another in quality, and not merely in 

OTTJTO, irws. -t) 8' cuo-flijtris ra alcr07)Ta. quantity or degree. For example, 
~" adverb TTWS (rponov ni/d, as since there is a phenor 


The adverb ' TTWS (rponov nvd, ' as since there is a phenomenon sui generis 
Simplikius explains it, fol. 78, b. 1) called colour, which our consciousness 
here deserves attention. " The soul is testifies to be not a particular degree 
all existing things in a certain way (or of some other phenomenon, as heat, or 
looked at under a certain aspect). All odour, or motion, but intrinsically un- 
things are either Percepta or Cogitata : like all others, it follows that there are 
now Cognition is in a certain sense the ultimate laws of colour . . The ideal 
Cognita Perception is the Percepta." limit therefore of the explanation of 
He goes on to say that the Percipient natural phenomena would be to show 
Mind is the Form of Percepta, while that each distinguishable variety of 
the matter of Percepta is without : but our sensations or other states of con- 
that the Cogitant Mind is identical sciousness has only one sort of cause." 
with Cogitata, for they have no matter (System of Logic, Book iii. ch. 14, s. 2.) 


name, and to reason about, the one of these two points of view 
without including direct notice of the other : this is abstraction or 
logical separation a mental process useful and largely applicable, 
yet often liable to be mistaken for real distinctness and duality. 
In the present case, the two abstractions become separately so 
familiar to the mind, that this supposed duality is conceived as 
the primordial and fundamental fact : the actual, bilateral, con- 
sciousness being represented as a temporary derivative state, 
generated by the copulation of two factors essentially indepen- 
dent of each other. Such a theory, however, while aiming at an 
impracticable result, amounts only to an inversion of the truth. 
It aims at explaining our consciousness as a whole ; whereas all 
that we can really accomplish, is to explain, up to a certain point, 
the conditions of conjunction and sequence between different 
portions of our consciousness. It also puts the primordial in the 
place of the derivative, and transfers the derivative to the privi- 
lege of the primordial. It attempts to find a generation for what 
is really primordial the total series of our manifold acts of con- 
sciousness, each of a bilateral character, subjective on one side 
and objective on the other : and it assigns as the generating 
factors two concepts obtained by abstraction from these very acts, 
resulting from multiplied comparisons, and ultimately exag- 
gerated into an illusion which treats the logical separation as if it 
were bisection in fact and reality. 

In Plato's exposition of the Protagorean theory, the true doc- 
trine held by Protagoras, 1 and the illusory explana- p] a t 8 a t- 
tion (whether belonging to him or to Plato himself), tempt to get 

i i 1.1 i j * ru TT j i behind the 

are singularly blended together. He denies expressly phenomena. 

i The elaborate Dissertation of Sir Sir W. Hamilton not only re-asserts the 

William Hamilton, on the Philosophy doctrine (" Our whole knowledge of 

of the Unconditioned (standing first in mind and matter is relative, condi- 

his 'Discussions on Philosophy'), is a tioned - relatively conditioned. Of 

valuable contribution to metaphysical things absolutely or in themselves, be 

philosophy. He affirms and shows, they external, be they internal, we 

"That the Unconditioned is incog- know nothing, or know them only as 

nisable and inconceivable: its notion incognisable, &c.) but affirms farther 

being only a negation of the Condi- that philosophers of every school, with 

tioned, which last can alone be posi- the exception of a few late absolute 

tively known and conceived" (p. 12); theorisers in Germany, have always 

refuting the opposite doctrine as pro- held and harmoniously re-echoed the 

claimed, with different modifications, same doctrine. 

both by Schelling and Cousin. In proof of such unanimous agree- 
In an Appendix to this Dissertation, nient, he cites passages from seventeen 
contained in the same volume (p. 608), different philosophers. 


Reference a ll separate existence either of Subject or Object all 
to a double * . . . .. J . ,, 

potentiality possibility of conceiving or describing the one as a 

tive U and C reality distinct from the other. He thus acknow- 
Objective. ledges consciousness and cognition as essentially bi- 
lateral. Nevertheless he also tries to explain the generation of 
these acts of consciousness, by the hypothesis of a latens processns 
behind them and anterior to them two continuous moving 
forces, agent and patient, originally distinct, conspiring as joint 
factors to a succession of compound results. But when we 
examine the language in which Plato describes these forces, we 
see that he conceives them only as Abstractions and Potentia- 
lities ; 1 though he ascribes to them a metaphorical copulation 
and generation. " Every thing is motion (or change) : of which 
there are two sorts, each infinitely manifold : one, having power 
to act the other having power to suffer." Here instead of a 
number of distinct facts of consciousness, each bilateral we find 
ourselves translated by abstraction into a general potentiality of 
consciousness, also essentially bilateral and multiple. But we 
ought to recollect, that the Potential is only a concept abstracted 
from the actual, and differing from it in this respect, that it 
includes what has been and what may be, as well as what is. 
But it is nothing new and distinct by itself : it cannot be pro- 
duced as a substantive antecedent to the actual, and as if it 
afforded explanation thereof. The general proposition about 
motion or change (above cited in the words of Plato), as far as it 
purports to get behind the fact of consciousness and to assign its 
cause or antecedent is illusory. But if considered as a general 
expression for that fact itself, in the most comprehensive terms 
indicating the continuous thread of separate, ever-changing acts 
of consciousness, each essentially bilateral, or subjective as well 

The first name on his list stands as William Hamilton, in thinking that this 

follows: -"I. Protagoras (as reported theory respecting the Unconditioned 

by Plato, Aristotle, Sextus Empiricus, and the Absolute, has been the theory 

Diogenes Laertius, &c.) Man is (for generally adopted by philosophers. The 

himself) the measure of all things ". passages which he cites from other 

Sir William Hamilton understands authors are altogether insufficient to 

the Protagorean doctrine as I under- prove such an affirmation, 
stand it, and as I have endeavoured to 1 Plato, Thesetet. p. 156 A. rrfc 

represent it, in the present chapter. It fi Kiv^o-ews 6vo etSrj, 7rA.?0et /uej/ aTret- 

1ms been very generally misconceived. %ov ficdTfpov, fivW/bui/ 81 rb /xev Troieu/ 

I cannot, however, agree with Sir e^ov, rb fie iravxew. 



as objective in this point of view the proposition is just and 

It is to be remembered, that the doctrine here criticised is 
brought forward by the Platonic Sokrates as a doctrine not his 
own, but held by others ; among whom he ranks Protagoras as 

Having thus set forth in his own language, and as an advocate, 
the doctrine of Protagoras, Sokrates proceeds to impugn it : in 
his usual rambling and desultory way, but with great dramatic 
charm and vivacity. He directs his attacks alternately against 
the two doctrines : 1. Homo Mensura : 2. Cognition is sensible 

I shall first notice what he advances against Homo Mensura. 
It puts every man (he says) on a par as to wisdom 
and intelligence : and not only every man, but every advanced by 
horse, dog, frog, and other animal along with him. gokSfes 1110 
Each man is a measure for himself: all his judgments against the 

i i v f 4. -L xi e T> A. Protagorean 

and beliefs are true : he is therefore as wise as Prota- doctrine. 

i In that distinction, upon which 
Aristotle lays so much stress, between 
Actus and Potentia, he declares Actus 
or actuality to be the Prius Potentia 
or potentiality to be the Tosterius. See 
Metaphysica, . 8, 1049, b. 5 seqq. ; 
De Animft, ii. 4, 415, a. 17. The Po- 
tential is a derivative from the Actual 
derived by comparison, abstraction, 
and logical analysis : a Mental con- 
cept, helping us to describe, arrange, 
and reason about, the multifarious acts 
of sense or consciousness but not an 
anterior generating reality. 

Turgot observes (CEuvres, vol. iii. 
pp. 108-110 ; Article in the Encyclo- 
pddie, Existence) ; 

" Le premier fondement de la notion 
de Vexistence est la conscience de notre 
propre sensation, et le sentiment du 
moi qui resulte de cette conscience. 
La relation necessaire entre 1'etre ap- 
percevant, et 1'etre apperc.u consid^re' 
hors du nwi, suppose dans les deux 
termes la mme r^alite. II y a dans 
1'un et dans 1'autre un fondement 
de cette relation, que rhomme, a'il 
avoit un langage, pourroit designer 
par le nom commun ^existence ou 
de prfaence: car ces deux notions ne 
seroient point encore distingue'es Tune 
de 1'autre. . . . 

"Mais il est tres-important d'ob- 
server que ni la simple sensation des 
objets prsens, ni la peinture que fait 
rimagi nation des objets absens, ni le 
simple rapport de distance ou d'activit6 
re'ciproque, commun aux uns et aux 
autrea, ne sont prdcisdiment la chose que 
1'esprit voudroit designer par le nom 
general d' existence ; c'est le fondement 
mme de ces rapports, supposd commun 
au moi, a 1'objet vu et a robjet simple- 
ment distant, sur lequel tombe v6ri- 
tablement et le nom & existence et notre 
affirmation, lorsque nous disons qu'une 
chose existe. Ce fondement n'est ni ne 
peut etre connu imme'diatement, et ne 
nous est indique' que par les rapports 
differents qui le supposent : nous nous 
en f ormons cependant une espece d'ide 
que nous tirons par voie d'cabstraction 
au t^moignage que la conscience nous 
rend de nous-memes et de notre sensa- 
tion actuelle : c'est-a-dire, que nous 
transportons en quelque sorte cette con- 
science du moi sur les objets ext6rieurs, 
par une espece d'assimilation vague, 
dementie aussitot par la separation de 
tout ce qui caracte"rise le woi, mais qui 
ne suffit pas moins pour devenir le 
fondement d'une abstraction ou d'un 
signe commun, et pour tre 1'objet de nos 


He says that goras and has no need to seek instruction from Prota- 

it puts the D i T- . -i i , . , . 

wise and goras. 1 Keflection, study, and dialectic discussion, 

par tJiat it are superfluous and useless to him : he is a measure 

contradicts to himself on the subject of geometry, and need not 
the common . . J & J . '. . 

conscious- therefore consult a professed geometrician like Theo- 

ness. Not f ]ft nis a 

everyone, cioius. 

but the The doctrine is contradicted (continues Sokrates) 

wise man , . . v . ' 

only, is a by the common opinions of mankind : for no man 

measure. esteems himself a measure on all things. Every one 
believes that there are some things on which he is wiser than his 
neighbour and others on which his neighbour is wiser than he. 
People are constantly on the look out for teachers and guides. 8 
If Protagoras advances an opinion which others declare to be 
false, he must, since he admits their opinion to be true, admit 
his own opinion to be false. 4 No animal, nor any common 
man, is a measure ; but only those men, who have gone through 
special study and instruction in the matter upon which they pro- 
nounce. 8 

In matters of present and immediate sensation, hot, cold, dry, 
In matters m i 8 ^ sweet, bitter, &c., Sokrates acknowledges that 
of present every man must judge for himself, and that what each 
every'man man pronounces is true for himself. So too, about 
fo^himseif honourable or base, just or unjust, holy or unholy 
Where whatever rules any city may lay down, are true for 

sequences" itself: no man, no city, is wiser upon these matters 
s r eciaJ 1Ved ^ an anv ^ ner ' 6 ^ u ^ * n re gard to what is good, pro- 
knowledge fitable, advantageous, healthy, &c., the like cannot 
is required. ^ conce( j e( ^ jj ere ( gavg Sokrates) one man, and one 

city, is decidedly wiser, and judges more truly, than another. 
We cannot say that the judgment of each is true ; 7 or that what 
every man or every city anticipates to promise good or profit, 
will necessarily realise such anticipations. In such cases, not 
merely present sentiment, but future consequences are involved. 
Here then we discover the distinction which Plato would 

1 Plato, Theretet. p. 161. Compare TTJI/ aurov av ^evSr} vyx*poi, el TI\V T& 

Plato, Kratylus, p. 386 C, where the ijyovpfvtov avrbv jrevSe<r0ai 6fioXoy 

same argument is employed. aAndn elvat ; 

2 Plato, Thesetet. p. 169 A. * Plato, Thesetet. p. 171 C. 

8 Plato, Thereto, p. 170. 6 Plato, Thesetet. pp. 172 A, 177 E. 

4 Plato, Thesett. p. 171 B. OVKOVV 7 piato, Thesetet. p. 172. 


draw. 1 Where present sentiment alone is involved, as in hot 
and cold, sweet and bitter, just and unjust, honourable and base, 
&c., there each is a judge for himself, and one man is no better 
judge than another. But where future consequences are to be 
predicted, the ignorant man is incapable : none but the profes- 
sional Expert, or the prophet, 2 is competent to declare the truth. 
When a dinner is on table, each man among the guests can judge 
whether it is good : but while it is being prepared, none but the 
cook can judge whether it will be good. 3 This is one Platonic 
objection against the opinion of Protagoras, when he says that 
every opinion of every man is true. Another objection is, that 
opinions of different men are opposite and contradictory, 4 some 
of them contradicting the Protagorean dictum itself. 

Such are the objections urged by Sokrates against the Prota- 
gorean doctrine Homo Mensura. There may have p]ato when 
been perhaps in the treatise of Protagoras, which un- he impugns 
fortunately we do not possess, some reasonings or O f p r ota- 
phrases countenancing the opinions against which JJ^J5j tos 
Plato here directs his objections. But so far as I can trine with- 
collect, even from the words of Plato himself when quaiift^a. 
he professes to borrow the phraseology of his oppo- tlon P" 
nent, I cannot think that Protagoras ever delivered longing to 
the opinion which Plato here refutes That every l *" 

opinion of every man is true. The opinion really tive to the 

-IT i i T> M. j. ^ i K m-L j. condition of 

delivered by Protagoras appears to nave been 1 hat the believ- 

wery opinion delivered by every man is true, to tlat man ing mind * 

1 Plato, Thetetet. p. 178. s Plato, ThesetSt. p. 152 A. OVKOU*' 

2 Plato, Theaet6t. p. 179. ei iry TOV? OVTO> TTWS Aeyet (Protagoras), ws ola fiev 
<rvv6vTas eTrei0ei>, on Kal TO /meAAof eVecr- eKacrra fyiol (fraCverat, TOiaCra fj.ev effTiv 
Bai re Kal S6eiv ovre /u,ai/Tts ovre rts aA- /OUH ola 8e croi, Toiavra 6e afl croi. 158 
Aos afjieivov KpCvetev av TJ avrbs avT<3. A. TO. tyaivofjieva eKa&Ttp ravra 

3 Plato, Thea;t6t. p. 178. elvai TOVTO> o5 ^aiVerat. 160 C. 'AA- 

4 Plato, Theaetet. p. 179 B. apa e/ucol y e/u,rj ato-0i|eris T^S yap 
Theodor. 'EKCIVQ /AOI SOKCI /naAtcrra ovata? aei ^O-TI Kal eyw Kpirrjs ^f 11 "* TOI/ 

aAi0"Ke<r0ac 6 A6yo5, aAiaKO/ixevos Kal Hp<aTay6pav Ttav Te OVT<OV 4/u.oi, a>s ecrrt, 

TavTjf, Vf Tas TWP aAAcu^ 66 ^a? Kvpias Kal ftav /u,^ QVTUV, ws OVK eoril'. 
Troiei, aCrat Se tyavyvav TOUS eKetVou Comp. also pp. 166 D, 170 A, 177 C. 
A<Jyovs ovSafjL-fj aATj^ei? T^yov/xevai. Instead of saying alcr0r)<ris (in the 

Sokrat. HoAAaxi? <al aAA^ av TO ye passage just cited, p. 160 D), we might 

TOIOVTOV aAotij, firj iracrav wai/rbs aATj&J with quite equal truth put 'AA^rjs apa 

86av elvai irepl fe TO irapbv eKacrr^i e/xol 17 e/ixr^ v 6 1\ <r i ? -075 yap fytrj? 

iraQos, f <*v at ato"fl^o*ets Kal at Kara ovata? al eartv. In this respect atcr- 

ravraff fio^at ytyvovTat . . . *Icra>$ fie drjcrts and i/orjats are on a par. Nc>7O*is 

ovfiei* A^yw, avaAwroi yap, el ervxoi>, is just as much relative to 6 voS>v a.s 

elcriV. ai<rdr)<n$ to 6 r ! " fl " 4 "-" "' 


himself. But Plato, when lie impugns it, leaves out the final 
qualification ; falling unconsciously into the fallacy of passing 
(as logicians say) a dicto secundum quid ad dictum simplicity. 1 
The qualification thus omitted by Plato forms the characteristic 
feature of the Protagorean doctrine, and is essential to the 
phraseology founded upon it. Protagoras would not declare 
any proposition to be true absolutely, or false absolutely. The 
phraseology belonging to that doctrine is forced upon him by 
Plato. Truth Absolute there is none, according to Protagoras. 
All truth is and must be truth relative to some one or more 
persons, either actually accepting and believing in it, or conceived 
as potential believers under certain circumstances. Moreover 
since these believers are a multitude of individuals, each with his- 
own peculiarities so no truth can be believed in, except under 
the peculiar measure of the believing individual mind. What a 
man adopts as true, and what he rejects as false, are conditioned 
alike by this limit : a limit not merely different in different 
individuals, but variable and frequently varying in the same 
individual. You cannot determine a dog, or a horse, or a child 

those of the Sceptical school, to which this was not consistent with his car- 
he himself belongs) in Pyrrhon. Hypot, dinal principle of relativity. Either he- 
i. sects. 216-219 ; adv. Mathematicos, himself did not take care always to- 
vii. s. 60-64-388-400. He too imputes enunciate the qualifications and limita- 
to Protagoras both the two doctrines, tions which his theory requires, and 
1. That man is the measure of all which in common parlance are omitted 
things : that what appears to each Or his opponents left out the limita- 
person is, to him : that all truth is tions which he annexed, and impugned 
thus relative. 2. That all phantasms, the opinion as if it stood without any. 
appearances, opinions, are true. Sextus This last supposition I think the most 
reasons at some length (390 seq.) probable. 

against this doctrine No. 2, and rea- The doctrine of Protagoras is cor- 

sons very much as Protagoras himself rectly given by Sextus in the Pyrrhon, 

would have reasoned, since he appeals Hypot. 
to individual sentiment and movement 

of the individual mind (ovx <*><ravTajs 1 Aristotle, in commenting on the 
yap Kivov/xefla, 391-400). It appears Protagorean formula, falls into a shni- 
to me perfectly certain that Protagoras lar inaccuracy in slurring over the re- 
advanced the general thesis of Rela- strictive qualification annexed by Pro- 
tivity : we see this as well from Plato tagoras. Metaphysic. r. p. 1009, a. 6. 
as from Sextus <al OUTWS eicra-yet TO Compare hereupon Bonitz's note upon. 
Trpos TI ru>v Trpos TI etj>cu TY\V a\r)9eiav the passage, p. 199 of his edition. 
(Steinhart is of opinion ^that these This transition without warning, 
words TWV fl-pos TI eli/ai TYJI/ akyOeiav d dicto secundum quid ad dictum 
are an addition of Sextus himself, and simplicitcr, is among the artifices 
do not describe the doctrine of Pro- ascribed by Plato to the Sophists, 
tagoras ; an opinion from which I dis- Euthyd&mus and Dionysod6rus (Plat, 
sent, and which is contradicted by Euthyd. p. 297 D). 


to believe in tlie Newtonian astronomy : you could not deter- 
mine the author of the Principia in 1687 to believe what the 
child Newton had believed in 1647. 1 To say that what is true 
to one man, is false to another that what was true to an indi- 
vidual as a child or as a youth, becomes false to him in his ad- 
vanced years, is no real contradiction : though Plato, by omitting 
the qualifying words, presents it as if it were such. In every 
man's mind, the beliefs of the past have been modified or re- 
versed, and the beliefs of the present are liable to be modified or 
reversed, by subsequent operative causes : by new supervening 
sensations, emotions, intellectual comparisons, authoritative teach- 
ing, or society, and so forth. 

The fact, that all exposition and discussion is nothing more 
than an assemblage of individual judgments, deposi- 
tions, affirmations, negations, &c., is disguised from us " 
by the elliptical form in which it is conducted. For 

example : I, who write this book can give nothing blage of 

,-, , ., f , individual 

more than my own report, as a witness, of facts judgments 

known to me, and of what has been said, thought, or tionsf^his" 
done by others, for all which I cite authorities : fact is dis- 
and my own conviction, belief or disbelief, as to the elliptical 

true understanding thereof, and the conclusions de- fnsof 

ducible. I produce the reasons which justify my 

opinion : I reply to those reasons which have been supposed by 
others to justify the opposite. It is for the reader to judge how 
far my reasons appear satisfactory to his mind. 2 To deliver my 

8 1 The argument produced by Plato to 2 M. Destutt Tracy observes as fol- 

discredit the Protagorean theory that lows : 

it puts the dog or the horse on a level " De m6me que toutes nos proposi- 

with man furnishes in reality a forcible tions peuvent ire ramenees & la forme 

illustration of the truth of the theory, de propositions e"noneiatives, parce 

Mr. James Harris, the learned Ari- qu'au fond elles expriment toutes un 

stotelian of the last century, remarks, jugeinent ; de mthne, toutes nos propo- 

in his Dialogue on Happiness (Works, sitions e"nonciatives peuvent ensuite 

ed. 1772, pp. 143-168) : e~tre toujours rdduites & n'6tre qu'une 

"Every particular Species is, itself de celles-ci : 'je pense, je sens, on je 

to itself, the Measure of all things in perc.ois, que telle chose est de telle 

the Universe. As things vary in maniere, ou que tel tre produit tel 

their relations to it, they vary also effet' propositions dont nova sommes 

in their value. If their value be ever noun-memes le aujet, parce qu'au fond 

doubtful, it can noway be adjusted but nous sommes toujours le sujet de tons nos 

by recurring with accuracy to the jugemens, puisqu'ils n' expriment jamais 

natural State of the Species, and to qu'une impression que nous cprou von s." 

those several Relations which such a (Ideologic : Supplement a la premiere 

htate of course creates." Section, vol. iv. p. 165, ed. 1825 duodec.) 


own convictions, is all that is in my power : and if I spoke with 
full correctness and amplitude, it would be incumbent on me to 
avoid pronouncing any opinion to be true or false simply : I 
ought to eay, it is true to me or false to me. But to repeat this 
in every other sentence, would be a tiresome egotism. It is 
understood once for all by the title-page of the book : an oppo- 
nent will know what he has to deal with, and will treat the 
opinions accordingly. If any man calls upon me to give him 
absolute truth, and to lay down the canon of evidence for identi- 
fying it I cannot comply with the request, any farther than to 
deliver my own best judgment, what is truth and to declare 
what is the canon of evidence which guides my own mind. 
Each reader must determine for himself whether he accepts it or 
not. I might indeed clothe my own judgments in oracular 
and vehement language : I might proclaim them as authoritative 
dicta : I might speak as representing the Platonic Ideal, Typical 
Man, or as inspired by a dalpwv like Sokrates : I might denounce 
opponents as worthless men, deficient in all the sentiments 
which distinguish men from brutes, and meriting punishment as 
well as disgrace. If I used all these harsh phrases, I should only 
imitate what many authors of repute think themselves entitled 
to say, about THEIR beliefs and convictions. Yet in reality, I 
should still be proclaiming nothing beyond my own feelings : 
the force of emotional association, and antipathy towards oppo- 
nents, which had grown round these convictions in my own 
mind. Whether I speak in accordance with others, or in oppo- 
sition to others, in either case I proclaim my own reports, 
feelings and judgments nothing farther. I cannot escape from 
the Protagorean limit or measures. 1 

" On peut meme dire que comme * Spkrates himself states as much 

nous ne sentons, ne savons, et ne con- as this in the course of his reply to 

naissons, rien que par rapport a nous, the doctrine of Protagoras, Thesetet. 

1'idde, sujet de la proposition, est 171 D. : dAA.' apay/o/, ol/tx<"> XP 1 ? ^*" 

toujours en definitif notre moi ; car wlv avrois . . . *cal TO. SOKOVVTO. det, 

quand je dis cet arbre est vert, je dis ravra Ae'yeii/. 

^ellement je sens, je sais, je vois, que The necessity (dvayxYj) to which So 

cet arbre est vert. Mais prttisement parce krates here adverts, is well expressed 

que ce preambule se trouve toujours et by M. Dege"rando. " En jugeant ce 

ntcessairement compris dans toutes nos que pensent les autres homines, en 

propositions, nous le supprimons quand comprenant ce qu'ils eprouvent, nous 

twus voulons ; et toute idee peut etre le ne sortons point en effet de nous- 

sujet de la proposition." (Principes memes, comme on seroit tentg de le 

Logiques, vol. iv. ch. viii. p. 231.) croire. C'est dans nos propres ide"es 


To this theory Plato imputes as a farther consequence, that it 
equalises all men and all animals. No doubt, the Argument 
measure or limit as generically described, bears alike proteSwe 
upon all : but it does not mark the same degree in doctrine 
all. Each man's bodily efforts are measured or 
limited by the amount of his physical force : this is 
alike true of all men : yet it does not follow that the far true, 
physical force of all men is equal. The dog, the th^Se" 1 
horse, the new-born child, the lunatic, is each a requisite 
measure of truth to himself : the philosopher is so Plato's 
also to himself : this is alike true, whatever may be ob J ection - 
the disparity of intelligence : and is rather more obviously true 
when the disparity is great, because the lower intelligence has 
then a very narrow stock of beliefs, and is little modifiable by 
the higher. But though the Protagorean doctrine declares the 
dog or the child to be a measure of truth each to himself it 
does not declare either of them to be a measure of truth to me, to 
you, or to any ordinary by-stander. How far any person is a 
measure of truth to others, depends upon the estimation in which 
he is held by others : upon the belief which they entertain 
respecting his character or competence. Here is a new element 
let in, of which Plato, in his objection to the Protagorean doc- 
trine, takes no account. When he affirms that Protagoras by his 
equalising doctrine acknowledged himself to be no better in point 
of wisdom and judgment than a dog or a child, this inference 
must be denied. 1 The Protagorean doctrine is perfectly consis- 
tent with great diversities of knowledge, intellect, emotion, and 
character, between one man and another. Such diversities are 
recognised in individual belief and estimation, and are thus com- 
prehended in the doctrine. Nor does Protagoras deny that men 
are teachable and modifiable. The scholar after being taught 

que nous voyons leurs ictees, leurs dont notre imagination a fait tous les 

manieres d'etre, leur existence merne. frais ; dont elle a cre"6 tous les person- 

Le monde entier ne nous est connu nages, et dessin, avec plus ou moins 

que dans une sorte de chambre ob- de ve"rit6, tous les tableaux." (Dege"- 

scure : et lorsqu'au sortir d'une soci6te rando, Des Signes et de 1'Art de 

nombreuse nous croyons avoir lu dans Penser, vol. i. ch. v. p. 132.) 
les esprits et dans les coeurs, avoir 1 Plato, These tot. p. 161 D. 6 8' dpa 

observ6 des caract&res, et senti (si je i-rvyxavev <av els </>pdi/Tj<n> ovSlv /3e\W 

puis dire ainsi) la vie d'un grand ftarpaxov yvpivov. w on cUAov rov av 

nombre d'hommes nous ne faisons en QpAirvv. I substitute the dog or horse 

effet que sortir d'une grande galerie as illustrations 


will hold beliefs different from those which he held before. Pro- 
tagoras professed to know more than others, and to teach them : 
others on their side also believed that he knew more than they, 
and came to learn it. Such belief on both sides, noway contra- 
dicts the general doctrine here under discussion. What the 
scholar believes to be true, is still true to him : among those 
things which he believes to be true, one is, that the master knows 
more than he : in coming to be taught, he acts upon his own 
conviction. To say that a man is wise, is to say, that he is wise 
in some one's estimation: your own or that of some one else. Such 
estimation is always implied, though often omitted in terms. 
Plato remarks very truly, that every one believes some others 
to be on certain matters wiser than himself. In other words, 
what is called authority that predisposition to assent, with 
which we hear the statements and opinions delivered by some 
other persons is one of the most operative causes in determining 
human belief. The circumstances of life are such as to generate 
this predisposition in every one's mind to a greater or less 
degree, and towards some persons more than towards others. 
Belief on authority is true to the believer himself, like all his 
-other beliefs, according to the Protacorean doctrine : 

Belief on , . . . *> . . . & ,, ., 

authority and in acting upon it, in following the guidance of 
the^believer ^' ^^ no ^ ^^ ow i n g the guidance of B, he is still a 
himself measure to himself. It is not to be supposed that 

The efficacy ^ , .,, , ,, , ,, 

of authority Protagoras ever admitted all men to be equally wise, 
the ld be- in though Plato puts such an admission into his mouth 
liever's own as an inference undeniable and obvious. His doc- 
trine affirms something altogether different : that 
whether you believe yourself to be wise or unwise, in either case 
the belief is equally your own equally the result of your own 
mental condition and predisposition, equally true to yourself, 
and equally an item among the determining conditions of 
your actions. That the beliefs and convictions of one person 
might be modified by another, was a principle held by Prota- 
goras not less than by Sokrates : the former employed as his 
modifying instrument, eloquent lecturing the latter, dialectical 
cross-examination. Both of them recognise the belief of the 
person to whom they address themselves as true to him, yet at 
the same time as something which may be modified and corrected, 


by appealing to what they thought the better parts of it against 
the worse. 
Again Sokrates imputes it as a contradiction to Protagoras 

"Your doctrine is pronounced to be false by many 

T ., ,1 , ,1 i T r c -11 Protagorean 

persons : but you admit that the belief of all persons formulais 

is true : therefore your doctrine is false V Here also {jjj^ ^ ho 

Plato omits the qualification annexed by Protagoras dissent 
, , . , . . , -c, , -. v L- 4. f ren * it 

to his general principle Every man s belief is true 

that is, true to him. That a belief should be true, to one man, 
and false to another is not only no contradiction to the formula 
of Protagoras, but is the very state of things which his formula 
contemplates. He of course could only proclaim it as true to 
himself. It is the express purpose of his doctrine to disallow 
the absolutely true and the absolutely false. His own formula, 
like every other opinion, is false to those who dissent from it : 
but it is not false absolutely, any more than any other doctrine. 
Plato therefore does not make out his charge of contradiction. 

Some men (says Sokrates) have learnt, have bestowed study 
on special matters, have made themselves wise upon piato's ar- 
those matters. Others have not done the like, but |ne nt~- 
remain ignorant. It is the wise man only who is a wise man 
measure: the ignorant man neither is so, nor believes measure 
himself to be so, but seeks guidance from the wise. 2 Reply to it. 

Upon this we may remark First, that even when the un- 
taught men are all put aside, and the erudites or Experts remain 
alone still these very erudites or Experts, the men of special 
study, are perpetually differing among themselves ; so that we 
cannot recognise one as a measure, without repudiating the 
authority of the rest. 3 If by a measure, Plato means an infallible 
measure, he will not find it in this way : he is as far from the 
absolute as before. Next, it is perfectly correct that if any man 
be known to have studied or acquired experience on special 
matters, his opinion obtains an authority with others (more or 

i Plato, TherotGt. p. 171 A. Sextus et indocti judicare potuissent (statuere 

Empiric, (adv. Mathem. vii. 61) gives a enim, qui sit sapiens, vel maxim6 vi- 

pertinent answer to this objection. detur esse sapientis). Sed, ut potue- 

2Plaf,n ThPtAf nn 171 C mtt rint > potuerunt, omnibus rebus auditis, 

* Plato, ineaetet. pp. 171 C, 179 13. cognitis etiam rdiquorum sententiis : judi- 

8 " Nam, quod dicunt omnino, se caverunt autem re semel audit d, atque 
credere ei quern Judicent fuisse sa- ad unius se auctoritatem contulerunt." 
pientem probarem, si id ipsum rudes (Cicero, Acad. Priora, ii. S, 9.) 


fewer), such as the opinion of an ignorant man w^ill not possess. 
This is a real difference between the graduated man and the non- 
graduated. But it is a difference not contradicting the theory of 
Protagoras ; who did not affirm that every man's opinion was 
equally trustworthy in the estimation of others, but that every 
man's opinion was alike a measure to the man himself. The 
authority of the guide resides in the belief and opinion of those 
who follow him, or who feel prepared to follow him if necessity 
arises. A man gone astray on his journey, asks the way to his 
destination from residents whom he believes to know it, just as 
he might look at a compass, or at the stars, if no other persons 
were near. In following their direction, he is acting on his own 
belief, that he himself is ignorant on the point in question and 
that they know. He is a measure to himself, both of the extent 
of his own ignorance, and of the extent of his own knowledge. 
And in this respect all are alike every man, woman, child, and 
animal ; l though they are by no means alike in the estimation 
of others, as trustworthy authorities. 

i Plato, Thejet&t. p. 171 E. I tran- science" est entierement determine'e par 

scribe the following from the treatise la nature intime de 1'individu. II n'est 

of Fichte (Beruf des Menschen, Desti- donn6 a personne de savoir autre 

nation de 1'Homme ; Traduction de chose que ce qu'il sait. II ne pourrait 

Barchou de Penhoen, ch. i. Le Doute, pas davantage savoir les mmes cboses 

pp. 54-55) : d'une autre facon qu'il ne les sait." 

"De la conscience de chaque indi- The same doctrine is enforced with 

vidu, la nature se contemplant sous great originality and acuteness in a 

un point de vue different, il en resulte recent work of M. Eugene Ve'ron, Dti 

que je m'appelle wo?, et que tu fan- Progrfcs Intellectuel dans 1'Humanite, 

pelles toi. Pour toi, je suis hors de Superiority des Arts Modernes sur les 

toi ; et pour moi, tu es hors de inoi. Arts Anciens (Paris, 1862, Guillaumin). 

Dans ce qui est hors de moi, je me M. Veron applies his general doctrine- 

saisis d'abord de ce qui m'avoisine le mainly to the theory of Art and ^Es- 

plus, de ce qui est le plus & ma portee : thetics : moreover he affirms more 

toi, tu fais de mSrne. Chacun de than I admit respecting human pro- 

notre cfttd, nous aliens ensuite an dela. gress as a certain and constant matter 

Puis, ayant commence a cheminer ainsi of fact. But he states clearly, as an 

dans le monde de deux points de de*- universal truth, the relative point of 

part diffe'rens, nous suivons, pendant view the necessary measurement for 

le reste de notre vie, des routes qui itself, of each individual mind and 

se coupent <$ et la, mais qui jarnais the consequent obligation, on each, to 

ne suivent exactement la naeme direc- allow to other minds the like liberty, 

tion, iamais ne courent parallelement We read, pp. 14-16-17 : 

1'une a 1'autre. Tous les individus pos- " Cela revient a dire que dans quel- 

siblea peuvent etre : par consequent que cas que nous supposiona, nous ne 

aussi, tous les points de vue de con- pouvons sentir que dans la mesure de 

science possibles. La somtiie de ces con- notre sensibility comprendre et juger 

sciences individuelles fait la conscience que dans la mesure de notre intelli- 

universdle : U n'y a pas d'autre. Ce gence; et que nos faculte's etant en 

n'est en effet que dans rindividu que perpetuel developpement, les variations 

se trouve & la fois et la limitation et de notre personnalite' entrainent n6ces- 

la realite. Dans 1'individu la con- sairement celles de nos jugemens^ 




A similar remark may be made as to Plato's distinction be- 
tween the different matters to which belief may pi a t 'sar- 

apply : present sensation or sentiment in one case gument as 
,. . . f ,. . ,. ,. , . tothedia- 

anticipation of future sensations or sentiments, in tinction be- 

another. Upon matters of present sensation and g^Lnsa- 

sentiment (he armies), such as hot or cold, sweet or Won and 

L-XX /i vi -IP anticipa- 

bitter, just or unjust, honourable or base, &c., one tionof the 

man is as good a judge as another : but upon matters fufcure - ' 
involving future contingency, such as what is healthy or un- 
healthy, profitable and good, or hurtful and bad, most men 
judge badly : only a few persons, possessed of special skill and 
knowledge, judge well, each in his respective province. 

I for my part admit this distinction to be real and important. 
Most other persons admit the same. 1 In acting upon r rheformula 
it, I follow out my belief, and so do they. This is of Relativity 
a general fact, respecting the circumstances which p [y that im 
determine individual belief. Like all other causes of ^j[J v ^ an 
belief, it operates relatively to the individual mind, himself to 
and thus falls under that general canon of relativity, om a l e " 
which it is the express purpose of the Protagorean formula to 

quand nous n'en avons pas con- 
science. . . Chaque homme a son esprit 
particulier. Ce que 1'un comprend sans 
peine, tin autre ne lepeut saisir ; ce qui 
repugn e & 1'un, plait & 1'autre ; ce qui 
me parait odieux, mon voisin Tap- 
prouve. Quelque bonne envie que 
nous semblions avoir de nous perare 
dans la foule, de d^pouiller notre in- 
dividualit6 pour emprunter des juge- 
inens tout faits et des opinions taillees 
a la mesure et & 1'usage du public il 
est facile de voir que, tout en ayant 
1'air de r^peter la leyon apprise, nous 
jugeons & notre maniere, quand nous 
jugeons : que notre jugement, tout en 
paraissant 6tre celui de tout le monde, 
n'en reste pas moins personnel, et n'est 
pas une simple imitation : que cette res- 
semblance meme est souvent plus ap- 
parente que r^elle: que I'identit6 ex- 
wrieure des f ormules et des expressions 
ne prouve pas absolument celle de la 
pensee. Bien n'est ^lastique comme 
les mots, et comme les prindpes g^ne- 
raux dans lesquels on pense enferiner 
les intelligences. C'est sonvent quand 
le langage est le plus semblable qu'on 
est le plus loin de a'entendre. 

' ' Da reste, quand meme cette ressem- 


blance serait aussi r^elle qu'elle est 
fausse, en quoi prouverait-il I'ldentite" 
n^cessaire des intelligences? Qu'y 
aurait-il d'6tonnant qu'au milieu de 
ce communisme intellectuel qui rdgit 
replication de chaque classe, et deter- 
mine nos habitudes intellectuelles et 
morales, les distinctions natives dispa- 
russent ou s'att^nuassent? Ne faut-il 
pas plut6t admirer 1'opiniatre vitalite* 
des diff6rences originelles qui r^sistent 
a tant de causes de mvellement? 
L'identit6 primitive des intelligences 
n'est qu'une ' fiction logique sans 
r^allt6 une simple abstraction de 
langage, Qwi ne repose que sw Videntitt 
du mot avec Iui-m8me. Tout se reduit 
a la possibility abstraite des mdmes 
d^veloppemens, dans les memes con- 
ditions d'heredite et d'6ducation 
mais anssi de developpemens dif- 
I4rens dans des circonstances dif- 
f erentes : c'est a dire, que 1'intelligence 
de chacun n'est identique ^ celle de 
tous, qu'au moment oil elle n'est 
pas encore proprement une intelli- 

i Plato, Thewtet. p. 179 A. way &r 
OfAO \oyot. 


affirm. Sokrates impugns the formula of relativity, as if it pro- 
claimed every one to believe himself more competent to predict 
the future than any other person. But no such assumption is 
implied in it. To say that a man is a measure to himself, is not 
to say that he is, or, that he believes himself to be, omniscient or 
infallible. A sick man may mistake the road towards future 
health, in many different directions. One patient may over-esti- 
mate his own knowledge, that is one way, but only one among 
several : another may be diffident, and may undervalue his own 
knowledge : a third may over-estimate the knowledge of his pro- 
fessional adviser, and thus follow an ignorant physician, believing 
him to be instructed and competent : a fourth, instead of con- 
sulting a physician, may consult a prophet, whom Plato ] here 
reckons among the authoritative infallible measures in respect to 
future events : a fifth may (like the rhetor Julius Aristeides 2 ) 
disregard the advice of physicians, and follow prescriptions en- 
joined to him in his own dreams, believing them to be sent by 
^Esculapius the Preserving God. Each of these persons judges 
differently about the road to future health : but each is alike a 
measure to himself : the belief of each is relative to his own 
mental condition and predispositions. You, or I, may believe 
that one or other of them is mistaken : but here another measure 
is introduced your mind or mine. 

But the most unfounded among all Plato's objections to the 
Plato's ar- Protagorean formula, is that in which Sokrates is 

uSSnabie- macie to alle g e > tnat if it; be accepted, the work of 
That if the dialectical discussion is at an end : that the Sokratic 
Elenchus, the reciprocal scrutiny of opinions between 
two dialogists, becomes nugatory since every man's 
discussion opinions are right. Instead of right, we must add 
annulled the requisite qualification, here as elsewhere, by read- 
There verse ing, right to tlw man himself. Now, dealing with 

1 Plato, Thecetet, p. 179 A, where xxvii. containing curious details about 
Mr. Campbell observes in his note his habits and condition, and illus- 
"The /udvTts is introduced as being trating his belief; especially Or. xxiii. 
eirt<rr^/iiwv of the future generally ; p. 462 seqq. The perfect faith which 
just as the physician is of future health he reposea in his dreams, and the con- 
and disease, the musician of future fidence with which he speaks of the 
harmony." &c. benefits derived from acting upon them, 

2 See the five discourses of the rhetor are remarkable. 
Aristeides 'Icpw Aoyoi, Oratt. xxiii - s Plato, Theietet. p. 161 B. 


Plato's affirmation thus corrected, we must pronounce 
not only that it is not true, but that the direct reverse recognises 
of it is true. Dialectical discussion and the Sokratic 
procedure, far from implying the negation of the 
Protagorean formula, involve the unqualified recogni- mind. 
tion of it. Without such recognition the procedure cannot even 
begin, much less advance onward to any result. Dialectic ope- 
rates altogether by question and answer : the questioner takes all 
his premisses from the answers of the respondent, and cannot 
proceed in any direction except that in which the respondent 
leads him. Appeal is always directly made to the affirmative or 
negative of the individual mind, which is thus installed as measure 
of truth or falsehood for itself. The peculiar and characteristic 
excellence of the Sokratic Elenchus consists in thus stimulating 
the interior mental activity of the individual Jiearer, i n eliciting 
from him all the positive elements of the debate, and in making 
him feel a shock when one of his answers contradicts the others. 
Sokrates not only does not profess to make himself a measure for 
the respondent, but expressly disclaims doing so : he protests 
against being considered as a teacher, and avows his own entire 
ignorance. He undertakes only the obstetric process of evolving 
from the respondent mind what already exists in it without the 
means of escape and of applying interrogatory tests to the 
answer when produced : if there be nothing in the respondent's 
mind, his art is inapplicable. He repudiates all appeal to autho- 
rity, except that of the respondent himself. 1 Accordingly there 

i Read the animated passage in the goras, that it rather illustrates the 

conversation with P61us : Plato, Gorg. Protagorean point of view. The beliefs 

472, and There t6t. 161 A, pp. 375, 376. and judgments of the man of the world 

In this very argument of Sokrates are presented as flowing from his men- 

(in the ThesetStus) against the Pro- tal condition and predispositions : those 

tagorean theory, we find him uncon- of the philosopher, from his. The two 

sciously adopting (as I have already are radically dissentient : each appears 

remarked) the very language of that to the other mistaken and misguided. 

theory, as a description of his own Here is nothing to refute Protagoras. 

procedure, p. 171 D. Compare with Each of the two is a measure for him- 

this a remarkable passage in the col- self. 

loquy of Sokrates with Thrasymachus, Yes, it will be said ; but Plato's 

in Republic, i. 337 C. measure is right, and that of the man 

Moreover, the long and striking con- of the world is wrong. Perhaps / may 

trast between the philosopher and the think so. As a measure for myself, 

man of the world, which Plato em- I speak and act accordingly. But the 

bodies in this dialogue (the Thetetetus, opponents have not agreed to accept 

from p. 172 to p. 177), is so far from me any more than Plato as their judge. 

assisting his argument against Prota- The case remains unsettled as before. 


is neither sense nor fitness in the Sokratic cross-examination, un- 
less you assume that each person, to whom it is addressed, is a 
measure of truth and falsehood to himself. Implicitly indeed, 
this is assumed in rhetoric as well as in dialectic : wherever the 
speaker aims at persuading, he adapts his mode of speech to the 
predispositions of the hearer's own mind ; and he thus recognises 
that mind as a measure for itself. But the Sokratic Dialectic 
embodies the same recognition, and the same essential relativity 
to the hearer's mind, moro forcibly than any rhetoric. And the 
Platonic Sokrates (in the PI i red rus) makes it one of his objections 
against orators who addressed multitudes, that they did not dis- 
criminate either the specialties of different minds, or the special- 
ties of discom-se applicable to each. 1 

Though Sokrates, and Plato HO far forth as follower of Sokrates, 
Contrast employed a colloquial method based on the funda- 
withthe mental assumption of the Protugorcan formula 
Treatise De * i v i i i i ^ -u 

Legiiras autonomy of each individual mind whether they 

aiimos^infal- accepted the formula in terms, or not ; yet we shall 
libie autho- find Plato at the end of his career, in his treatise De 

rity -sets T ., , . . .. ,, 

aside Dia- Legibus, constructing an imaginary city upon the 
lectic. attempted deliberate exclusion of this formula. We 

shall find him there monopolising all teaching and culture of his 
citizens from infancy upwards, barring out all freedom of speech 
or writing by a strict censorship, and severely punishing dissent 
from the prescribed orthodoxy. But then we shall also find that 
Plato in that last stage of his life w r hen he constitutes himself as 
lawgiver, the measure of truth or falsehood for all his citizens 
has at the same time discontinued his early commerce with the 
Sokratic Dialectics. 

On the whole then, looking at what Plato says about the Pro- 
Plato in tagorean doctrine of Relativity Homo Mensura 
p?SSio. the first > his statement wnat tne doctrine really is, next 
rean for- his strictures upon it we may see that he ascribes to 
^ consequences which it will not fairly carry. He 
^P 11 ^ 8 & as ^ ^ excluded philosophy and argu- 
aii. Coun : mentative scrutiny : whereas, on the contrary, it is the 
tioifto^lie on ty basis upon which philosophy or "reasoned truth" 
formula. <&& stand. Whoever denies the Protagorean auto- 

i Plato, Phffidrus, p. 271 D-E ; compare 268 A. 


nomy of the individual judgment, must propound as his counter 
theory some heteronomy, such as he (the denier) approves. If I 
am not allowed to judge of truth and falsehood for myself, who 
is to judge for me ? Plato, in the Treatise De Legibus, answers 
very unequivocally : assuming to himself that infallibility 
which I have already characterised as the prerogative of King 
Nomos : " I, the lawgiver, am the judge for all my citizens ; you 
must take my word for what is true or false : you shall hear 
nothing except what my censors approve and if, nevertheless, 
any dissenters arise, there are stringent penalties in store for 
them ". Here is an explicit enunciation of the Counter-Proposi- 
tion, 1 necessary to be maintained by those who deny the Prota- 
gorean doctrine. If you pronounce a man unfit to be the 
measure of truth for himself, you constitute yourself the measure, 
in his place : either directly as lawgiver or by nominating 
censors according to your own judgment. As soon as he is de- 
clared a lunatic, some other person must be appointed to manage 
his property for him. You can only exchange one individual 
judgment for another. You cannot get out of the region of 
individual judgments, more or fewer in number : the King, the 
Pope, the Priest, the Judges or Censors, the author of some book, 
or the promulgate of such and such doctrine. The infallible 
measure which you undertake to provide, must be found in some 
person or persons if it can be found at all : in some person 
selected by yourself that is, in the last result, yourself. 21 

1 Professor Ferrier's Institutes of OegenHatss des Heins und des Scheins" 
Metapbysic exhibit an excellent ex- (see Steinhart, Einloit. zuin ThecetCt. p. 
ample of the advantages of setting 37) is unattainable. All that is attain- 
forth explicitly the Counter-Proposi- able is the antithesis between that 
tion that which an author intends to which appears to one person, and that 
deny, as well as the Proposition which which appears to one or more others, 
he intends to affirm and prove. choose them as you will : between 

2 Aristotle says (Ethic. Nikomach. that which appears at a first glance, 
x. 1170, a, 15) SoKei 8' iv anaan, rots or at a distance, or on careless mspec- 
ToiouTots eli/at, TO (f><ti voue v ov T $ tion and that which appears after 
(rirovBaitp. "That is, which appears close and multiplied observations and 
to be in the judgment of the wise or comparisons, after full discussion, Ac. 
virtuous man." The ultimate appeal Dan &an is that which appears to the 
is thus acknowledged to be, not to an person or persons whom we judge to 
abstraction, but to some one or more r>e wise, under these latter favourable 
individual persons whom Aristotle circumstances. 

recognises as wise. That is truth EpiktStus, i. 28, 1. Tt i<rrtv tunov 

which this wise man declares to be TOV <ryyitararideff0ai nvt. f To 4>aivt<r0<u, 

truth. You cannot escape from the Sri viropxet. TV otv 0atpoj4Vy on 

Relative by any twist of reasoning. OVY wrapxi| 0vyKaraTt'0ea0<u ov\ ol6v 

What Platonic critics call 7 'Der T. 




It is only when the Counter-Proposition to the Protagorean 
formula is explicitly brought out, that the full mean- 
ing of that formula can be discerned. If you deny 
it, the basis of all free discussion and scrutiny is 
withdrawn : philosophy, or what is properly called 
reasoned truth, disappears. In itself it says little. 

Yet little as its positive import may seem to be, it 
clashes with various illusions, omissions, and exigen- 

im ort of 
the Prota- 

muTa?s f best 

plicitly the 


larfty*ofthe cies, incident to the ordinary dogmatising process, 

rean^or- ^ substitutes the concrete in place of the abstract 

mula Most the complete in place of the elliptical. Instead of 

sist upon " Truth and Falsehood, which present to us the Abstract 

themselves ail( ^ impersonal as if it stood alone the Objective 

a measure divested of its Subject we are translated into the real 

aseUasfor world of beliefs and disbeliefs, individual believers and 

themselves, disbelievers : matters affirmed or denied by some 
Appeal to * 

Aostrac- Subject actual or supposable by you, by me, by him 

lons " or them, perhaps by all persons within our know- 

ledge. All men agree in the subjective fact, or in the mental 
states called belief and disbelief ; but all men do not agree in 
the matters believed and disbelieved, or in what they speak of as 
Truth and Falsehood. No infallible objective mark, no common 
measure, no canon of evidence, recognised by all, has yet been 
found. What is Truth to one man, is not truth, and is often 
Falsehood, to another : that which governs the mind as infallible 
authority in one part of the globe, is treated with indifference or 
contempt elsewhere. 1 Each man's belief, though in part deter- 

1 Respecting the grounds and con- 
ditions of belief among the Hindoos, 
Sir William Sleeman (Rambles and 
Recollections of an Indian Official, ch. 
xxvi. vol. i. pp. 226-228) observes as 
follows : 

" Every word of this poem (the 
Ramaen,Ramayana)the people assured 
me was written, if not by the hand of 
the Deity himself, at least by his 
inspiration, which was the same thing, 
and it must consequently be true. 
Ninety-nine out of a hundred, among 
the Hindoos, implicitly believe, not only 
every word of this poem, but every 
word of every poem that has ever 
been written in Sanscrit. If you ask 
a man whether he really believes any 

very egregious absurdity quoted from 
these books, he replies with the greatest 
naweM in the world, ' Is it not written 
in the book ; and how should it be 
there written if not true?' . . . The 
greater the improbability, the more 
monstrous and preposterous the fic- 
tion, the greater is the charm that it 
has over their minds ; and the greater 
their learning in the Sanscrit, the more 
are they under the influence of this 
charm. Believing all to be written 
by the Deity, or by his inspirations, 
and the men and things of former 
days to have been very different from 
the men and things of the present 
day, and the heroes of these fames to 
have been demigods, or people en- 




mined by the same causes as the belief of others, is in part also 
determined by causes peculiar to himself. When a man speaks 
of Truth, he means what he himself (along with others, or singly, 
as the case may be) believes to be Truth ; unless he expressly 
superaclds the indication of some other persons believing in it. 
This is the reality of the case, which the Protagorean formula 
brings into full view ; but which most men dislike to recognise, 
and disguise from themselves as well as from others in the 
common elliptical forms of speech. In most instances a believer 
entirely forgets that his own mind is the product of a given time 
and place, and of a conjunction of circumstances always peculiar, 
amidst the aggregate of mankind for the most part narrow. He 
cannot be content (like Protagoras) to be a measure for himself 
and for those whom his arguments may satisfy. This would be 
to proclaim what some German critics denounce as Subjectivism. 1 

dowed with powers far superior to 
those of the ordinary men of their 
own day, the analogies of nature are 
never for a moment considered ; nor 
dp questions of probability, or possi- 
bility, according to those analogies, 
ever obtrude to dispel the charm with 
which they are so pleasingly bound. 
They go on through life reading and 
talking of these monstrous fictions, 
which shock the taste and under- 
standing of other nations, without 
once questioning the truth of one 
single incident, or hearing it ques- 
tioned. There was a time, and that 
not very distant, when it was the same 
in England and in every other Euro- 
pean nation ; and there are, I am 
afraid, some parts of Europe where 
it is so still. But the Hindoo faith, 
so far as religious questions are con- 
cerned, is not more capacious or absurd 
than that of the Greeks and Romans 
in the days of Sokrates and Cicero ; 
the only difference is, that among the 
Hindoos a greater number of the 

guestions which interest mankind are 
rought under the head of religion." 

i This is the objection taken by 
Schwegler, Prantl, and other German 
thinkers, against the Protagorean doc- 
trine (Prantl, Gesch. der Logik. vol. i. 
p. 12 seq. ; Schwegler, Gesch. der 
Philos. im Umriss. s. 11, b. p. 26, ed. 
6th). I had transcribed from each of 
these works a passage of some length, 
but I cannot find room for them in 
this note. 

These authors both say, that the 
Protagoiean canon, properly uncler- 
stpod ; is right, but that Protagoras 
laid it down wrongly. They admit 
the principle of Subjectivity, as an 
essential aspect of the case, in regard 
to truth ; but they say that Protagoras 
was wrong in appealing to individual, 
empirical, accidental, subjectivity of 
each man at every varying moment, 
whereas he ought to have appealed to 
an ideal or universal subjectivity. 

far forth as a rational, and thinking 
being. Now my thinking, my reason, 
is not something specially belongimr 
to me, but something common to all 
rational beings, something universal; 
so far therefore as I proceed as a 
rational and thinking person, my sub- 
jectivity is an universal subjectivity. 
Every thinking person has the con- 
sciousness that what he regards as 
right, duty, good, evil, &c., presents 
itself not merely to him as such, but 
also to every rational person, and that, 
consequently, his judgment possesses 
the character of universality, universal 
validity : in one word, Objectivity." 

Here it is explicitly asserted, that 
wherever a number of individual men 
employ their reason, the specialities of 
each disappear, and they arrive at the 
same conclusions Reason being a 
guide impersonal as well as infallible. 
And ibis same view is expressed by 

152 THE^lTETUS. 


He insists upon constituting himself or some authority wor- 
shipped by himselfor some abstraction interpreted by himself 
a, measure for all others besides, whether assentient or dissentient. 
That which he believes, all ought to believe. 

This state of mind in reference to belief is usual with most 
men, not less at the present day than in the time of Plato and 
Protagoras. It constitutes the natural intolerance prevalent 
among mankind ; which each man (speaking generally), in the 
case of his own beliefs, commends and exults in, as a virtue. It 
flows as a natural corollary from the sentiment of belief, though 
it may be corrected by reflection and social sympathy. Hence 
the doctrine of Protagoras equal right of private judgment to 
each man for himself becomes inevitably unwelcome. 

We are told that Demokritus, as well as Plato and Aristotle, 
Aristotle t wrote against Protagoras. The treatise of Demokritus 
l?tompL h to is lost : but we possess what the two latter said against 
refute the the Protagorean formula. In my judgment both 

Prantl in other language, when he both of them keep in the safe obscurity 
reforms the Protagorean doctrine by of an abstraction " Das Denken" 
saying, "Das Denken ist der Mass der the Universal Reason. Protagoras re- 
Dinge". cognises in each dissentient an equal 
To me this assertion appears so right to exercise his own reason, and 
distinctly at variance with notorious to judge for himself . 
facts, that I ain surprised when I find In order to show how thoroughly 
it advanced by learned historians of incorrect the language of Sohwegler 
philosophy, who recount the very facts and Prantl is, when they talk about 
which contradict it. Can it really be the Universal Reason as unanimous and 
necessary to repeat that the reason of unerring, I transcribe from another emi- 
one man differs most materially from, nent historian of philosophy a descrip- 
tlmt of another and the reason of the tion of what philosophy has been from 
same person from itself, at different ancient times down to the present, 
times in respect of the arguments ac- Deg^rando, Histoire Comparee des 
cepted, the authorities obeyed, the con- Systeines de Philosophic, vol. i. p. 
elusions embraced? The impersonal 48 : " Une multitude d'hypotru\ses, 
Reason is a mere fiction ; the universal &ev6es en quelque sorte au hasard, et 
Reason is an abstraction, belonging rapidement detruites; une diversity 
alike to all particular reasoners, con- d'opinions, d'autant plus sensible que 
sentient or dissentient, sound or un- la philosophie a ete plus developpoe ; 
sound, &c. Schwegler admits the Pro- des sectes, des partis meme, des dis- 
tagorean canon only under a reserve putes interminables, des sp6culations 
which nullifies its meaning. To say st6riles, des erreurs maintemies et 
that the Universal Reason is the mea- transmises par une imitation aveugle ; 
sure of truth is to assign no measure at quelques decouvertes obtenues avec 
all. The Universal Reason can only lenteur, et mdlangees d'idtos fausses ; 
make itself known through an inter- des re"f ormes annoncdes a chaque siecle 
preter. The interpreters are dissen- et jamais accomplies ; une succession 
tient ; and which of them is to hold de doctrines qui se renversent les unes 
the privilege of infallibility ? Neither les antres sans pouvoir obtenir plus de 
Schwegler nor Prantl are forward to solidit6; la raison humaine ainsi pro- 
specify who the interpreter is, who is menee dans un triste cercle de vicissi- 
entitled to put dissentients to silence ; tudes, efc ne s'elevant a quelques epo- 



failed in refuting it. Each of them professed to lay 

down objective, infallible, criteria of truth and false- mula 

hood : Democritus on his side, and the other dogma- J^er of 

tical philosophers, professed to do the same, each in Aristotle 

his own way and each in a different way. 1 Now the right of 

the Protagorean formula neither allows nor disallows fo^SSmseff 

any one of these proposed objective criteria : but it Aristotle's 
. . ,1 -r , i i 11 c ii ,1 canons of 

enunciates the appeal to which all of them must be truth. 

submitted the subjective condition of satisfying the jiidgment 
of each hearer. Its protest is entered only when that condition 
is overleaped, and when the dogmatist enacts his canon of belief 
as imperative, peremptory, binding upon all (allgemeingiiltig) 
both assentient and dissentient. I am grateful to Aristotle for 
his efforts to lay down objective canons in the research of truth ; 
but I claim the right of examining those canons for myself, and 
of judging whether that, which satisfied Aristotle, satisfies me 
also. The same right which I claim for myself, I am bound to 
allow to all others. The general expression of this compromise 
is, the Protagorean formula. No one demands more emphatically 
to be a measure for himself, even when all authority is opposed 
to him, than Sokrates in the Platonic Gorgias. 2 

After thus criticising the formula Homo Mensura Plato 
proceeds to canvass the other doctrine, which he pi a t ' S oxa- 
ascribes to Protagoras along with others, and which minatfonof 
he puts into the mouth of Theaetetus " That know- doctrine 

ques fortun<?es que pour retomber 
bientot dans de nouveanx hearts, &c. 
. . . les memes questions, entin, qui 
partagerent il y a plus de vingt siocles 
les premiers genies de la Grece, agitces 
encore ajourd'hui apres tant de volu- 
mineux ecrits consacres a les discuter ". 

i Plutarch, adv. Kolot. p. 1108. 

According to Demokritus all sensible 
perceptions were conventional, or varied 
according to circumstances, or accord- 
ing to the diversity of the percipient 
Subject; but there was an objective 
reality minute, solid, invisible atoms, 
differing in figure, position, and move- 
ment, and vacuum along with them. 
Such reality was intelligible only by 
Reason. N<J/u.u> y\VKv, vo^ mnp6v, 
v6/jL<? Ocpfiov, vo/u.q> tyvxpov, voynf XP 017 ?/ 
Irey) fie aro/xa teal KCVOV. "Ajrep VO/AI- 
erai piv eli/at ical o<erat ra atcr^rd, 

OVK ecrrt Se Kara. aX^fletai/ raOra' aX\a 
TO. aro/xa fJiOi'ov /cat KSVOV. 

SextiiH Empiric, adv. Mathemat. 
vii. 335-139; Diog. Laert. ix. 72. See 
Mnllach, Deinocriti Fragm. pp. 204-208. 

The discourse of Protagoras Iltpi 
TOV 6fTo?, was read by Porphyry, who 
apparently cited from it a passage 
verbatim, which citation Eusebius un- 
fortunately has not preserved (Euse- 
bius, Praepar. Evang. x. 3, 17). One 
of the speakers in Porphyry's dialogue 
(describing a repast at the house of 
Longinua at Athens to celebrate 
Plato's birthday) accused Plato of 
having copied largely from the argu- 
ments of Protagoras n-pos TOVS tv rb 
ov eto-ayocras. Allusion is probably 
made to the Platonic dialogues Par- 
menides and Sophistes. 

2 Plato, Gorgias, p. 472. 




is sensible perception ". He connects that doc- 
sibTe'Per trine with the above-mentioned formula, by illus- 
adverts'to 16 trations which exhibit great divergence between one 
facts^vhich P erc ^P^ ent Subject and another. He gives us, as 
are different examples of sensible perception, the case of the wind, 
rent Pe?" cold to one man > not cold to another : that of the 
cipients. wine, sweet to a man in health, bitter if he be sickly. 1 
Perhaps Protagoras may have dwelt upon cases like these, as best 
calculated to illustrate the relativity of all affirmations : for 
though the judgments are in reality both equally relative, 
whether two Judges pronounce alike, or whether they pronounce 
differently*, under the same conditions yet where they judge 
differently, each stands forth in his own individuality, and the 
i-elativity of the judgment is less likely to be disputed. 

But though some facts of sense are thus equivocal, generating 
Such is not Dissension rather than unanimity among different 
individuals such is by no means true of the facts of 
sense taken generally. 2 On the contrary, it is only 
conditions 16 ^ iese ^ ac ^ s ^he world of reality, experience, and 
particulars which afford a groundwork and assurance 
of unanimity in human belief, under all varieties of 
feet facts'of teacn i n S or locality. Counting, measuring, weighing, 
are facts of sense simple and fundamental, and com- 
parisons of those facts : capable of being so exhibited 
that no two persons shall either see them differently 
or mistrust them. Of two persons exposed to the same wind, 
one may feel cold, and the other not : but both of them will see 
the barometer or thermometer alike. 3 Havra /ze'rp<p /cat < 

the case 
with all the 
facts of 

of unani- 
mity are 
best found 


1 Plato, Theaett. pp. 152 A, 159 C. 

2 Aristotle (Metaphysic. r. p. 1010, 
a. 25 vseq.) in arguing against Hera- 
kleitus and his followers, who dwelt 
upon TO. cuo-flwTo. as ever fluctuating 
and undefinable, urges against them 
that this is not true of o(t ouaflrjTd, but 
only of those in the sublunary region 
of the Kosmos. But this region is (he 
says) only an imperceptibly small part 
of the entire Kosmos ; the obiects in 
the vast superlunary or celestial region 
of the Kosinos were far more numerous, 
and were also eternal and unchange- 
able, in constant and uniform circular 
rotation. Accordingly, if you predicate 

one or other about oicr^jra generally, 
you ought to predicate constancy and 
unchangeability, not flux and varia- 
tion, since the former predicates are 
true of much the larger proportion of 
aiarOyTa, See the Scholia on the above 
passage of Aristotle's Metaphysica, and 
also upon Book A, 991, a 9. 

3 Mr. Campbell, in his Preface to 
the Theaetctus (p. Ixxxiii.), while com- 
paring the points in the dialogue with 
modern metaphysical views, observes. 
" Modern Experimental Science is 
equally distrustful of individual im- 
pressions of sense, but has found means 
of measuring the motions by which 


KOI oradfjia would be the perfection of science, if it could be 
obtained. Plato himself recognises, in more than one place, the 
irresistible efficacy of weight and measure in producing unani- 
mity ; and in forestalling those disputes which are sure to arise 
where weight and measure cannot be applied. 1 It is therefore 
among select facts of sense, carefully observed and properly com- 
pared, that the groundwork of unanimity is to be sought, so far 
as any rational and universal groundwork for it is attainable. 
In other words, it is here that we must seek for the basis of 
knowledge or cognition. 

A loose adumbration of this doctrine is here given by Plato as 
the doctrine of Protagoras, in the words Knowledge 
is sensible perception. To sift this doctrine is an- pfHokrates 
nounced as his main purpose ; 2 and we shall see how in^this"" 

he performs the task. Sokr. Shall we admit, that question. 

, ... i . i -, . Divergence 

when we perceive things by sight or hearing, we at between one 

the same time know them all? When foreigners JJf^her* 

talk to us in a strange language, are we to say that arises, not 

i -i i it A-IA tiii merely from 

we do not hear what they say, or that we both hear different 

they are caused, through the fjfect of i Thua in the Philebus (pp. 56-56) 

the same motions upon other things Plato declares that numbering, ineasur- 

besides our senses. When the same ing, and weighing, are the characteristic 

wind is blowing one of us feels warm marks of all the various processes which 

and another cold (Thea'tet. p. 152), deserve the name of Arts ; and that 

but the mercury of the thermometer among the different Arts those of the 

tells the same tale to all. And though carpenter, builder, &c., are superior to 

the individual consciousness remains those of the physician, pilot, nusband- 

the sole judge of the exact impression man, military commander, musical corn- 

momentarily received by each person, poser, Ac., because the two first-named 

yet we are certain that the sensation of employ more measurement and a greater 

heat and cold, like the expansion and number of measuring instruments, the 

contraction of the mercury, is in every rule, line, plummet, compass, <fec. 

case dependent on a universal law." " When we talk about iron or silver" 

It might seem from Mr. Campbell's (says SokratSs in the Platonic Pheedrus, 

language (I do not imagine that he p. 263 A-B) " we are all of one mind, 

means it so) as if Modern Expert- but when we talk- about the Just and 

mental Science had arrived at some- the Good we are all at variance with 

thing more trustworthy than "indi- each other, and each man Is at variance 

victual impressions of sense ". But the with himself ". Compare an analogous 

expansion or contraction of the mercury passage, Alkibiad. i p. 109. 

are just as much facts of sense as the Here Plato himself recognises the 

feeling of heat or cold ; only they are verifications of sense as the main 

facts of sense determinate and uniform guarantee for accuracy ; and the corn- 

to all, whereas the feeling of heat or pared facts of sense, when select and 

cold is indeterminate and liable to simplified, as ensuring the nearest ap- 


not at all felt in the days Of TOVTOV XP 4 " ra woAAa K al aroira ravra 




bihty, but 


and know iu When unlettered men look at an 
inscription, shall we contend that they do not see the 
writing, or that they both see and know it ? Thecetet. 
^ e s ^ a ^ sa ^> un ^ er tnese supposed circumstances, 
that what we see and hear, we also know. We Lear 
and we know the pitch and intonation of the foreigner's voice. 
The unlettered man sees, and also knows, the colour, size, forms, 
of the letters. But that which the schoolmaster and the inter- 
preter could tell us respecting their meaning, that we neither see, 
nor hear, nor know. SoJcr. Excellent, Theeetetus. I have 
nothing to say against your answer. 1 

This is an important question and answer, which Plato 
unfortunately does not follow up. It brings to view, though 
without fully unfolding, the distinction between what is really 
perceived by sense, and what is inferred from such perception : 
either through resemblance or through conjunctions of past ex- 
perience treasured up in memory or both together. Without 
having regard to such distinction, no one can discuss satisfactorily 
the question under debate. 2 Plato here abandons, moreover, 

1 Plato, Thefetet. p. 163 C. 

2 I borrow here a striking passage 
from Dugald Stewart, which illustrates 
both the passage in Plato's text, and 
the general question as to the relativity 
of Cognition. Here, the fact of relative 
Cognition is brought out most conspi- 
cuously on its intellectual side, not on 
ita perceptive side. The fact of sense 
is the same to all, and therefore, though 
really relative, has more the look of 
an absolute ; but the mental associa- 
tions with that fact are different with 
different persons, and therefore are 
more obviously and palpably relative. 
Dugald Stewart, First Preliminary 
Dissertation to Encyclopsed. Britan- 
nica, pp. 66, 8th ed. 

" To this reference of the sensation 
of colour to the external object, I can 
think of nothing so analogous as the 
feelings we experience in surveying a 
library of books. We speak of the 
volumes piled up on its shelves as 
treasures or magazines of the knowledge 
of past ages; and contemplate them 
with gratitude and reverence as inex- 
haustible sources of instruction and de- 
light to the mind. Even in looking 
at a page of print or manuscript, we 
are apt to say that the ideas we acquire 

are received by the sense of sight ; and 
we are scarcely conscious of a metaphor 
when we apply this language. On such 
occasions we seldom recollect that no- 
thing is perceived by the eye but a 
multitude of black strokes drawn upon 
white paper, and that it is our own ac- 
quired habits which communicate to 
these strokes the whole of that signifi- 
cancy whereby they are distinguished 
from the unmeaning scrawling of an 
infant. The knowledge which we con- 
ceive to be preserved in books, like the 
fragrance of a rose, or the gilding of 
the clouds, depends, for its existence, 
on the relation between the object and 
the percipient niind : and the only dif- 
ference between the two cases is, that, 
in the one, this relation is the local and 
temporary effect of conventional habits : 
in the other, it is the universal and the 
unchangeable work of nature. . . What 
has now been remarked with respect to 
written characters, may be extended 
very nearly to oral language. When 
we listen to the discourse of a public 
speaker, eloquence and persuasion seem 
to issue from his lips ; and we are little 
aware that we ourselves infuse the soul 
into every word that he utters. The case 
is exactly the same when we enjoy the 


the subjective variety of impression which he had before noticed 
as the characteristic of sense : (the wind which blows cold, and 
the wine which tastes sweet, to one man, but not to another). 
Here it is assumed that all men hear the sounds, and see the 
written letters alike : the divergence between one man and 
another arises from the different prior condition of percipient 
minds, differing from each other in associative and reminiscent 

Sokrates turns to another argument. If knowledge be the 
same thing as sensible perception, then it follows, Argument 
that so soon as a man ceases to see and hear, he also That sen- 
ceases to know. The memory of what he has seen or ceptjondoes 
heard, upon that supposition, is not knowledge. But ^uory e 
Theaete'tus admits that a man who remembers what Probability 
he has seen or heard docs know it. Accordingly, the W h held 
answer that knowledge is sensible perception, cannot ^e^ttJ 5116 
be maintained. 1 include 

Here Sokrates makes out a good case against the memory> 
answer in its present wording. But we may fairly doubt whether 
those who affirmed the matter of knowledge to consist in the 
facts of sense, ever meant to exclude memory. They meant pro- 
bably the facts of sense both as perceived and as remembered ; 
though the wording cited by Plato does not strictly include 
so much. Besides, we must recollect, that Plato includes in 
the meaning of the word Knowledge or Cognition an idea of 
perfect infallibility : distinguishing it generically from the 
highest form of opinion. But memory is a fallible process : 
sometimes quite trustworthy under other circumstances, not so. 
Accordingly, memory, in a general sense, cannot be put on a 
level with present perception, nor said to generate what Plato 
calls knowledge. 

The next argument of Plato is as follows. You can see, and 
not see, the same thing at the same time : for you Argument 
may close one of your eyes, and look only with the from the 
other. But it is impossible to know a thing, and not 

conversation of a friend. We ascribe such cases the words spoken contribute 

the charm entirely to his voice and ac- to the intellectual and moral effect, I 

cents ; but without our co-operation, its have elsewhere endeavoured to show." 
potency would vanish. How very small , T>i Qfrt TT^mfAf IAQ IA 
the comparative proportion is, which in Plato > Theaetet. pp. 163, 104. 


not seeing to know it, at the same time. Therefore to know is 
at the same , ' . 

time. not the same as to see. 1 

This argument is proclaimed by Plato as a terrible puzzle, 
leaving no escape. 2 Perhaps he meant to speak ironically. In 
reality, this puzzle is nothing but a false inference deduced from 
a false premiss. The inference is false, because if we grant the 
premiss, that it is possible both to see a thing, and not to see it, at 
the same time there is no reason why it should not also be 
possible to know a thing, and not to know it, at the same time. 
Moreover, the premiss is also false in the ordinary sense which 
the words bear : and not merely false, but logically impossible, 
as a sin against the maxim of contradiction. Plato procures it 
from a true premiss, by omitting an essential qualification. I see 
an object with my open eye : I do not see it with my closed eye. 
From this double proposition, alike intelligible and true, Plato 
thinks himself authorised to discard the qualification, and to tell 
me that I see a thing and do not see it passing d dicto secundum 
quid ad dictum simpliciter. This is the same liberty which he 
took with the Protagorean doctrine. Protagoras having said 
"Every thing which any man believes is true to that man" 
Plato reasons against him as if he had said " Every thing which 
any man believes is true ". 

1 Plato, Thesetet. p. 165 B. (Stallbaum, Proleg. ad Theeet. pp. 12- 

2 Plato, ThecetSt. p. 165 B. TO 6eii/<5- 13, 22-29). 

TO.TOV ^pwTrjjxa a<f>vTo> epwr^an, &c. Stallbaum pushes this general prin- 

. , . 

Mr. Campbell observes upon this ciple so far as to contend that the 

passage : " Perhaps there is here a simile of the waxen tablet (p. 191 C), 

trace of the spirit which was afterwards and that of the pigeon-house (p. 200 C), 

developed in the sophisms of Eubu- are doctrines of opponents, which So- 

M6s". Stallbaura, while acknowledg- krates pretends to adopt with a view 

ing the many subtleties of Sokrates in to hold them up to ridicule. 

this dialogue, complains that other I do not concur in this opinion of 

commentators make the ridiculous mis- Stallbaum, which he reproduces in 

take (" errore perquam ridiculo ") of commenting cm many other dialogues, 

accepting all the reasoning of Sokrates and especially on the Kratylus, for the 

as seriously meant, whereas much of purpose of exonerating Plato from the 

it (he says) is mere mockery and sar- reproach of bad reasoning and bad 

casm, intended to retort upon the So- etymology, at the cost of opponents 

phists their own argumentative tricks "inauditi et indefensi". I see no 

and quibbles. " Itaqu& saepe per petu- ground for believing that Plato meant 

lantiam quandam argutiis indulgot to brin^f forward these arguments as 

(Socrates), quibus isti haudquaquam paralogisms obviously and ridiculously 

abstinebant ; ssep& ex adversariorum silly. He produced them, in my judg- 

(Socrates), quibus isti haudquaquam paralogisms obviously and ridiculously 
abstinebant ; ssep& ex adversariorum silly. He produced them, in my judg- 
mente disputat, sed ita tamen disputat, ment, as suitable items in a dialogue 

ut eos suis ipsorum capiat laqueis ; of search : plausible to a certain extent, 

ssepe denique in disputando iisdem admitting both of being supported and 

artificiis utitur, quibus illi uti con- opposed, and necessary to be presented 

sueverant, sicuti etiam in Menone, to those who wish to know a question 

Cratylo, Euthydemo, fieri meminimus ". in all its bearings. 




Again, argues Plato, 1 you cannot say I know sharply, dimly, 
near, far, &c. but you may properly say, I see sharply, dimly, 
near, far, &c. : another reason to show that knowledge and 
sensible perception are not the same. After a digression of some 
length directed against the disciples of Herakleitus (partly to 
expose their fundamental doctrine that every thing was in flux 
and movement, partly to satirise their irrational procedure in 
evading argumentative debate, and in giving nothing but a tissue 
of mystical riddles one after another), 2 Sokrates returns back to 
the same debate, and produces more serious arguments, as 
follows : 

Sokr. If you are asked, With what does a man perceive white 

and black ] you will answer, with his eyes : shrill Sokrates 

i o -i.i i TA -, j , maintains 

or grave sounds * with his ears. Does it not seem to that we do 

you more correct to say, that we see througfy our eyes JJ* lyl^ ith 
rather than with our eyes : that we hear through our bufc fc " at tne 
ears, not with our ears. Thecetet. I think it is more 

mind sees 
through the 

1 Plato, Thesett. p. 165 D. The 
reasonings here given by Plato from 
the mouth of Sokrates, are compared by 
Steinhart to the Trug-schlusse, which 
in the Euthydcmus he ascribes to that 
Sophist and Dionysodorus. But Stein- 
hart says that Plato is here reasoning 
in the style of Protagoras : an assertion 
thoroughly gratuitous, for which there 
is no evidence at all (Steinhart, Bin- 
leitung zum Theaetet. p. 53). 

2 Plato, Thea3tt. pp. 179-183. The 
description which we read here (put 
into the mouth of the geometer Theo- 
ddrus) of the persons in Ephesus and 
other parts of Ionia, who speculated 
in the vein of Herakleitus is full of 
vivid fancy and smartness, but is for 
that reason the less to be trusted as 

The characteristic features ascribed 
to these Herakleiteans are quite unlike 
to the features of Protagoras, so far as 
we know them; though Protagoras, 
nevertheless, throughout this dialogue, 
is spoken of as if he were an Hera- 
kleitean. These men are here depicted 
as half mad incapable of continuous 
attention hating all systematic speech 
and debate answering, when ad- 
dressed, only in brief, symbolical, enig- 
matical phrases, of which they had 
a quiver-full, but which they never 
condescended to explain (f 
rpa? pTjjuaTicr/aa 

airoTogevovo-Lv, see Lassalle, vol. i. pp. 
32-39~springing up by spontaneous 
inspiration, deHpiHing instruction, p. 
180 A), and each looking down upon 
the others as ignorant. It we corn- 
pare the picture thus given by Plato 
of the Herakleiteans, with the picture 
which he gives of Protagoras in the 
dialogue so called, we shall see that 
the two are as unlike as possible. 

Lassalle, in his elaborate work on 
the philosophy of Herakleitus, attempts 
to establish the philosophical affinity 
between Herakleitus and Protagoras : 
but in my judgment unsuccessfully. 
According to Lassalle's own representa- 
tion of the doctrine of Herakleitus, it is 
altogether opposed to the most eminent 
Protagorean doctrine, "AvQpwiros eavrtp 
fierpov and equally opposed to that 
which Plato seems to imply as Prota- 
gorean At<r0rj(rt? = 'ETutmj/iij. The 
elucidation given by Lassalle of Hera- 
kleitus, through the analogy of Hegel, 
is certainly curious and instructive. 
The Absolute Process of Herakleitus 
is at variance with Protagoras, not less 
than the Absolute Object or Sub.stra- 
tum of the Eleates, or the Absolute 
Ideas of Plato. Lassalle admits that 
Herakleitus is the entire antithesis 
to Protagoras, yet still contends 
that he is the prior stage of 
transition towards Protagoras (vol. 
i. p. 64). 


eves : that correct. SoJcr. It would be strange if there were in 

ofteifcSn- eacn man man j separate reservoirs, each for a distinct 

ceivesand class of perceptions. 1 All perceptions must surely 

itself, with- converge towards one common form or centre, call it 

aid o?any sou ^ or ^ )v ailv ^ ner name, which perceives through 

bodily or- them, as organs or instruments, all perceptible ob- 

gan. . , 

6 jects. 

We thus perceive objects of sense, according to Plato's lan- 
guage, with the central form or soul, and through various organs 
of the body. The various Percepta or Percipienda of tact, vision, 
hearing sweet, hot, hard, light have each its special bodily 
organ. But no one of these can be perceived through the organ 
affected to any other. Whatever therefore we conceive or judge 
respecting any two of them, is not performed through the organ 
special to either. If we conceive any thing common both to 
sound and colour, we cannot conceive it either through the 
auditory or through the visual organ. 2 

Now there are certain judgments (Sokrates argues) which we 
make common to both, and not exclusively belonging to either. 
First, we judge that they are two : that each is one, different 
from the other, and the same with itself : that each is something, 
or has existence, and that one is not the other. Here are pre- 
dicates existence, non-existence, likeness, unlikeness, unity, 
plurality, sameness, difference, &c., which we affirm, or deny, not 
respecting either of these sensations exclusively, but respecting 
all of them. Through what bodily organ do we derive these 
judgments respecting what is common to all? There is no 
special organ : the mind perceives, through itself, these common 
properties. 3 

Some matters therefore there are, which the soul or mind 
Indication apprehends through itself others, which it perceives 
judlSL, through the bodily organs. To the latter class belong 
which the* the sensible qualities, hardness, softness, heat, sweet- 
mind makes , . , . . i i vL i. TI 
by itself ness, &c., which it perceives through the bodily or- 

i Plato, ThesetSt. p. 18* D. StLvbv * Plato, ThesetSt. pp. 184-185. 


gans ; and which animals, as well as men, are by it perceives 

, . . . . T i i . i n Existence, 

nature competent to perceive immediately at birth. Difference, 

To the former class belong existence (substance, es- &c> 
sence), sameness, difference, likeness, unlikeness, honourable, 
base, good, evil, &c., which the mind apprehends through itself 
alone. But the mind is not competent to apprehend this latter 
class, as it perceives the former, immediately at birth. Nor does 
such competence belong to all men and animals ; but only to a 
select fraction of men, who acquire it with difficulty and after a 
long time through laborious education. The mind arrives at 
these purely mental apprehensions, only by going over, and 
comparing with each other, the simple impressions of sense ; by 
looking at their relations with each other ; and by computing the 
future from the present and past. 1 Such comparisons and com- 
putations are a difficult and gradual attainment ; accomplished 
only by a few, and out of the reach of most men. But without 
them, no one can apprehend real existence (essence, or sub- 
stance), or arrive at truth : and without truth, there can be no 

The result therefore is (concludes Sokrates), That knowledge is 
not sensible perception: that it is riot to be found in the Sokratea 
perceptions of sense themselves, which do not appre- maintains 
hend real essence, and therefore not truth but in the iedg e k to" 
comparisons and computations respecting them, and be found, 
A. I*- v .u ^ 11 not in the 

in the relations between them, made and appre- Sensible 

bended by the mind itself. 2 Plato declares good ^3^? 
and evil, honourable and base. &c.. to be among but in the 

j.j. . -11 i , -11 ^i comparisons 

matters most especially relative, perceived by the and compu- 

1 Plato, Thesetet.^p. 186 B. TT;I/ Se napayC 
ye ova-tap Kai o Tt earov cai TTJP epap- 2 pint* 

" f dAAifAw (of hardness and TO! 

^l TTJP ova-tap ^aS iS)5 cVap- ^ a J, 1 T '^""^pT 1 

n.u.1, ^vju,/3aXXovo-a irpos a A- > ^A ^ 7 g ^ aul/acrOou, 

X?Aa xptpetp vet par at T/^IP . . . ^J* U 5 * TfivVarop. The term auAAo' 
OUKOVP ra aep cvSvs yepo/xe^ts Trape^rt ^ ^ here interesting, before it had 

^o-et ato-^apeo-eat OP^PWTTOIS re at 0rj : f eceived thafc technical sense which it 

ptots, o<ra 5ta TOV oupaTOC Tra07,^aTa cirt hag bome from Aristo tle downwards. 

T>,P ^-VX>?P Tetp 6l ' ra 5 e Trept TOVTWP M Campbell explains it properly as 

oraAoyto-Mara, irjrf re overtax /cat <4 j equivalent to abstraction and 

fitt ' ioAA^p JplyTarir^i TaT- generalisation (Preface to Theee^tua 





the mind 

tion of this 

views of 

mind computing past and present in reference to 

p -, 

future. 1 

Such is the doctrine which Plato here lays down, 

respecting the difference between sensible perception. 

Till ^ - 

and knowledge or cognition. From his time to the 

P resent ^J? the same topic has continued to be dis- 

cussed, with different opinions on the part of philo- 
TV, . , . 

sophers. Plato s views are interesting, as far as his 

language enables us to make them out. He does not 
agree with those who treat sensation or sensible perception (in 
his language, the two are not distinguished) as a bodily pheno- 
menon, and intelligence as a mental phenomenon. He regards 
both as belonging to the mind or soul. He considers that the 
mind is sentient as well as intelligent : and moreover, that the 
sentient mind is the essential basis and preliminary universal 
among men and animals, as well as cooeval with birth furnish- 
ing all the matter, upon which the intelligent mind has to work. 
He says nothing, in this dialogue, about the three distinct souls 
or minds (rational, courageous, and appetitive), in one and the 
same body, which form so capital a feature in his Timseus and 
Republic : nothing about eternal, self-existent, substantial Ideas, 
or about the pre-existence of the soul and its reminiscence as the 
process of acquiring knowledge. Nor does he countenance the 
doctrine of innate ideas, instinctive beliefs, immediate mental 
intuitions, internal senses, &c., which have been recognised by 

i Plato, Theeetet. p. 186 A. KO.\OV 
KO.I ai<rxpov, Kal aya9ov Kal ^ KO.K.OV. 
Kai TOVTO>I> jixoi 5oet v rots jix. a- 
AKTTO, rrpbs a A A TJ A a cr K o n el- 
<rd ai T ?) v o u o- Cav, dj/aAoyio- 
ft e v TJ (j i/wx*)) * v eavrfj r a yeyo- 
v6ra. Kttl r a irapovra Trpbs TO. 

Base and honourable, evil and good, 
are here pointed out by Sokrates as 
most evidently and emphatically re- 
lative. In the train of reasoning here 
terminated, Plato had been combating 
the doctrine Ai<r0Tjori? = 'ETrto-nf/onj. 
In his sense of the word atcr^o-is he 
has refuted the doctrine. But what 
about the other doctrine, which he 
declares to be a part of the same 
programme Homo Mensuraihe Pro- 
tagorean formula ? That formula, so 
far from being refuted, is actually sus- 

tained and established by this train of 
reasoning. Plato has declared ovcrta, 
d\T]#eia, tVavrtoTT/?, ayaOov, KO.KQV, &C., 
to be a distinct class of Objects not 
perceived by Sense. But he also tells 
us that they are apprehended by the 
Mind through its own working, and 
that they are apprehended always in 
relation to each other. We thus see 
that they are just as much relative to 
the concipient mind, as the Objects of 
sense are to the percipient and sentient 
mind. The Subject is the correlative 
limit or measure (to use Protagorean 
phrases) of one as well as of the other. 
This confirms what I observed above, 
that the two doctrines, 1. Homo Men- 
sura, 2. Aco-^crts = 'E^Km^, are 
completely distinct and independent, 
though Plato has chosen to implicate 
or identify them. 


many philosophers. Plato supposes the intelligent mind to work 
altogether upon the facts of sense ; to review and compare them 
with one another ; and to compute facts present or past, with a 
view to the future. All this is quite different from the mental 
intuitions and instincts, assumed by various modern philosophers 
as common to all mankind. The operations, which Plato as- 
cribes to the intelligent mind, are said to be out of the reach of 
the common man, and not to be attainable except by a few, with 
difficulty and labour. The distinctive feature of the sentient 
mind, according to him, is, that it operates through a special 
bodily organ of sense : whereas the intelligent mind has no such 
special bodily organ. 

But this distinction, in the first place, is not consistent with 
Timseus wherein Plato assigns to each of his three j)jff eren t 
human souls a separate and special region of the views given 

i vi -^ -I i i XT xi b y Plato 

bodily organism, as its physical basis. JNor, in the in other 
second place, is it consistent with that larger range of dlal g ues - 
observed facts which the farther development of physiology has 
brought to view. To Plato and Aristotle the nerves and the 
nervous system were wholly unknown : but it is now ascertained 
that the optic, auditory, and other nerves of sense, are only 
branches of a complicated system of sensory and motory nerves, 
attached to the brain and spinal cord as a centre : each nerve of 
sense having its own special mode of excitability or manifesta- 
tion. Now the physical agency whereby sensation is carried on, 
is, not the organ of sense alone, but the cerebral centre acting 
along with that organ : whereas in the intellectual and memorial 
processes, the agency of the cerebral centre and other internal 
parts of the nervous system are sufficient, without any excite- 
ment beginning at the peripheral extremity of the special organ 
of sense, or even though that organ be disabled. We know the 
intelligent mind only in an embodied condition : that is, as 
working along with and through its own physical agency. When 
Plato, therefore, says that the mind thinks, computes, compares, 
&c., by itself this is true only as signifying that it does so 
without the initiatory stimulus of a special organ of sense ; not 
as signifying that it does so without the central nervous force or 
currents an agency essential alike to thought, to sensation, to 
emotion, and to appetite. 




Putting ourselves back to tlie Platonic period, we must recog- 
nise that the discussion of the theory 'ETrto-r^/A?; = 
AZvQijcris, as it is conducted by Plato, exhibits a re- 
markable advance in psychological analysis. In ana- 
lysing the mental phenomena, Plato displayed much, 
more subtlety and acuteness than his predecessors a& 
far at least as we have the means of appreciating the 
latter. It is convenient to distinguish intellect from 
sensation (or sensible perception) and emotion, though 
both of them arc essential and co-ordinate parts of our 
mental system, and are so recognised by Plato. It is 
also true that the discrimination of our sensations 
from each other, comparisons of likeness or unlikeiiess between 
them, observation of co-existence or sequence, and apprehension 
of other relations between them, &c., are more properly classified 
as belonging to intellect than to sense. But the language of 
psychology is, and always has been, so indeterminate, that it is 
difficult to say how much any writer means to include under the 
terms Sense a Sensation Sensible Perception Aio-drja-is. The 

Plato's dis- 
cussion of 
this ques- 
tion here 
exhibits a 
advance in 
The mind 
rises from 
first to 
then to 

l The discussion in pp. 184-185- 
186 of the Thewtetus is interesting 
as the earliest attempt remaining 
to classify psychological phenomena. 
What Demokritus and others proposed 
with the same view the analogy or 
discrepancy between TO aio-0at/e<r0<u 
and TO vonlv we gather only from 
the brief notices of Aristotle and 
others. Plato considers himself to 
have established, that "cognition is 
not to be sought at all in sensible 
perception, but in that function, what- 
ever it be, which is predicated of the 
mind when it busies itself )>er se (i.e. 
not through any special bodily organ) 
about existences" (p. 187 A). We 
may here remark, as to the dispute 
between Plato and Protagoras, that 
Plato here does not at all escape from 
the region of the Relative, or from the 
Protagorean formula, Homo Mensura. 
He passes from Mind Percipient to 
Mind Cogitant ; but these new Entia 
cogitatioriis (as his language implies) 
are still relative, though relative to 
the Cogitant and not to the Percipient. 
He reduces Mind Sentient to the 
narrowest functions, including only 
each isolated impression of one or 
other among the five senses. When 

we see a clock on the wall and hear it 
strike twelve we have a visual im- 
pression of black from the hands, of 
white from the face, and an audible 
impression from each stroke. But thi 
is all (according to Plato) which we 
have from sense, or which addresses 
itself to the sentient mind. All beyond 
this (according to him) is apprehended 
by the cogitaht mind : all discrimina- 
tion, comparison, and relation such 
as the succession, or one, two, three, 
&c., of the separate impressions, the 
likeness of one stroke to the preceding, 
the contrast or dissimilarity of the 
black with the white even the 
simplest acts of discrimination or 
comparison belong (in Plato's view) 
to mental powers beyond and apart 
from sense ; much more, of course, ap- 
prehension of the common properties of 
all, and of those extreme abstractions 
to which we apply the words Ens and 

Non-Ens (TO r crrl ira<ri KOLVOV /cal TO frrl 


e<rrti>, p. '185 C). 

When Plato thus narrows the sense 
of ato-flrjo-is, it is easy to prove that 
firurrrinTi is not cu<r0rj<7i$ ; but I doubt 
whether those who affirmed this pro- 
position intended what he here refutes. 




propositions in which our knowledge is embodied, affirm not 
sensations detached and isolated, but various relations of ante- 

Neither unreflecting men, nor early 
theorizers, would distinguish the im- 
pressions of sense from the feeling of 
such impressions being successive, dis- 
tinct from one another, resembling, &c. 
Mr. John Stuart Mill observes (Logic, 
Book i. chap. iii. sects. 10-13) "The 
simplest of all relations are those ex- 
pressed by the words antecedent and 
consequent, and by the word simul- 
taneous. If we say dawn preceded 
sunrise, the fact in which the two 
things dawn and sunrise were jointly 
concerned, consisted only of the two 
things themselves. No third thing en- 
tered into the fact or phenomenon at 
all, unless indeed we choose to call the 
succession of the two objects a third 
thing ; (nit their succession is not sotue- 
tliimj added to the things themselves, it is 
something involvfd_ in them. To have 
two teelings at all, implies having them 
either successively or simultaneously. 
The relations of succession and simul- 
taneity, of likeness and unlikeness, not 
being grounded on any fact or pheno- 
menon distinct from the related objects 
themselves, do not admit of the same 
kind of analysis. But these relations, 
though not (like other relations) 
grounded on states of consciousness, 
are themselves states of consciousness. 
Resemblance is nothing but our feeling 
of resemblance : succession is nothing 
but our feeling of succession." 

By all ordinary (non-theorising) per- 
sons, these familiar relations, involved 
in the facts of sense, are conceived as 
an essential part of ato-^o-is : and are 
so conceived by those modern theorists 
who trace all our knowledge to sense- 
as well as (probably) by those ancient 
theorists who defined e7u<m7/u.7| to be 
al<r9y<ri<;, and against whom Plato here 
reasons. These theorists would have 
said (as ordinary language recognises) 
" We sec. the dissimilarity of tfie 
black hands from the white face of the 
clock ; we hear the likeness of one stroke 
of the clock to another, and the suc- 
cession of the strokes one, two, three, 
one after the other". 

The reasoning of Plato against these 
opponents is thus open to many of the 
remarks made by Sir William Hamilton, 
in the notes to his edition of Reid's 
works, upon Reid's objections against 
Locke and Berkeley: Reid restricted 
the word Sensation to a much narrower 

meaning than that given to it by Locke 
and Berkeley. "Berkeley's Sensation" 
(observes S. W. Hamilton) "was equi- 
valent to Reid's Sensation plus Percep- 
tion. This is manifest even by the pas- 
sages adduced in the text" (note to p. 
289). But Reid in his remarks omits to 
notice this difference in the meaning of 
the same word The case is similar 
with Plato when he refutes those who 
held the doctrine 'ETrio-Trj/urj = Aio-0Tj<ns'. 
The last mentioned word, in his con- 
struction, includes only a part of the 
meaning which they attributed to it: 
but he takes no notice of this verbal 
difference. Sir William Hamilton, re- 
marks, respecting M. Royer Collard's 
doctrine, which narrows prodigiously 
the province of Sense, " Sense he so 
limits that, if rigorously carried out, no 
sensible perception, as no conscious- 
ness, could be brought to bear ". This 
is exactly true about Plato's doctrine 
narrowing ai<r0rj<ris. See Hamilton's 
edit, of Reid, Appendix, p. 844. 

Aristotle understands aicrflrjcns 
at<70rjTiKT/ />VXTJ or cjanjiis occupying 
a larger sphere than that which Plato 
assigns to them in the Theastfitus. 
Aristotle recognises the five separate 
<uo-0r?cre<.s, each correlating with and 
perceiving its i'fitoi> aio-0rjT6V : he also 
recognises -^ KOIVT) aio-erjo-is common 
sensation or perception correlating 
with (or perceiving) ra KQLVO. cu<r0TjTo, 
which are motion, rest, magnitude, figure, 
number. The KOtt/rj cucr6tyo-i$ is not a 
distinct or sixth sense, apart from the 
five, but a general power inhering in 
all of them. He farther recognises 
aitr0Tj<ns as discriminating, judging, 
comparing, knowing : this character- 
istic, TO KpiTixbv and yviacrriKov, is 
Common to ac<r<?rj<ris, (/xn/racrta, v6-qcrt9 t 

and distinguishes them all from appe- 
tite TO OpCKTlKoV, /aVTJTlKOI/, tfeC. 066 

the first and second chapters of the 
third Book of the Treatise De Anima, 
and the Commentary of Simplikius 
upon that Treatise, especially p. 56, b. 
Aristotle tells us that all animals x et 

Svj/a/ixtc trv/uu^VTOf KptriKi^v, r]v Ka.\ov<F(,V 
oierdTjo-tv. Anal. Poster, ii. p. 99, b. 35. 
And Sir William Hamilton adopts a 
similar view, when he remarks, that 
Judgment is implied in every act of 

Occasionally indeed Aristotle parti- 
tions the soul between i/ovs and o 




cedence and consequence, likeness, difference, &c., between two 
or more sensations or facts of sense. We rise thus to a state of 
mind more complicated than simple sensation : including (along 
with sensation), association, memory, discrimination, comparison 
of sensations, abstraction, and generalisation. This is what Plata 
calls opinion 1 or belief; a mental process, which, though pre- 
supposing sensations and based upon them, he affirms to be 
carried on by the mind through itself, not through any special 
bodily organ. In this respect it agrees with what he calls know- 
ledge or cognition. Opinion or belief is the lowest form, 
possessed in different grades by all men, of this exclusively 
mental process : knowledge or cognition is the highest form of 

Intelligence and Appetite recog- 
nising Sense as belonging to the head 
of Intelligence see De Motu Ani- 
malium, C, p. 700, b. 20. raina 8t 
iraVTa avdyerai, eis vovv /cat opeiv /cat 
y^P v "n </>afTaerta /cat rf at<r0Tj<rts TTJI/ 
avTTji/ TW voS Ywpai/ t^ovcri /c p t r t /c a 

yo.pira.vTa.. Compare also the Topica, 
ii. 4, p. ill, a. 18. 

It will thus be seen that while 
Plato severs pointedly ai!cr0yj<rts from 
anything like discrimination, compari- 
son, judgment, even in the most rudi- 
mentary form Aristotle refuses to 
adopt this extreme abstraction as his 
basis for classifying the mental phe- 
nomena. He recognises a certain 
measure of discrimination, comparison, 
and judgment, as implicated in sen- 
sible perceptions. Moreover, that 
which he calls KOIVY) atcr0T?o-i<r is un- 
known to Plato, who isolates each 
sense, and indeed each act of each 
sense, as much as possible. Aristotle 
is opposed, as Plato is, to the doctrine 
Eirio-TTjjinj = Aio-flrjo-is, but he employs 
a different manner of reasoning against 
it. See, inter alia, Anal. Poster, i. 31 
p. 87, b. 28. He confines eVierriJ/nj to 
one branch of the i/orjTt/oj. 

The Peripatetic Straton, the disciple 
of Theophrastus, denied that there 
was any distinct line of demarcation 
between rb atcrfldveo-flai and TO voelv I 

maintaining that the former was im- 
possible without a certain measure of 
the latter. His observation is very 
worthy of note. Plutarch, De Solertia 
Animalium, iii. 6, p. 961 A. KOU'TOI 
SrpaTtoi'ds ye^rov Avmieov Aoyo? e<rru>, 
airooeiKvvcov (b? ovo^' a.i<r0dvf<r9ai -roira- 
pdirav avev TOV voeiv vrrap^ei al yap 
ypa/ut/Aora iroAAdias emTrupevofteya rp 

oi/^et, /cat Adyot TrpcxTTrnrTOi'Tes TTJ d/co]7 
SiaAai'0d'ov<ri' ^ /n a s fat S t a- 
(frevyovcri TT p b s e T e p o t s TOV 
vovv e ^ o v T a s etr* a 5 t s eirai/- 
TJ A tf e /cat /u, e T a e t /cat jix, e T a- 
<5 i co /c e t Tail' Trpoiep.V(i}v e/ca- 
<r T o y ai'ttAeyd/btevos' if KO.I 
AeAe/crat. Noi)s op f;, Kat vovs 
d/couet, TO. 5e aAAa /ca)^>a /cat 
Tvtfrpd- tos TOT) Trepi TO. 6(u,jaaTa /cat 

Straton here notices that remarkable 
fact (unnoticed by Plato and even by 
Aristotle, so far as I know) in the 
process of association, that impressions 
of sense are sometimes unheeded when 
they occur, but force themselves upon 
the attention afterwards, and are re- 
called by the mind in the order in 
which they occurred at first. 

1 Plato, Theset. p. 187 A. Sokr. o/xws 

oe TOffOVTOv ye Trpo/Se/S^/ca/aev, aiorTe nfy 

TOira.pd'rra.v, dAA' ei/ e/cetVa) TO> oyojuaTi, 
o, TI TTOT' e\et i) *//v\^, oTaf avTT) Ka0* 
aurrjv Trpay/maTevrjTat rrept TO. ovTa^ 
Thecet. 'AAAd /mryv TOVTO yt KaAetTat, <o? 
ey ujuat, 6o^d^"etv. Sokr. 'Opfltos yap 

Plato is quite right in distinguishing 
between ato-tfijons and 8da, looking at 
the point as a question of psycholo- 
gical classification. It appears to me, 
however, most probable that those who 
maintained the theory 'ETTKTTIJJUTJ = 
Atotfijcris, made no such distinction, 
but included that which he calls 6da 
in at<T0i7<n?. Unfortunately we do not 
possess their own exposition ; but it 
cannot have included much of psycho- 
logical analysis. 




the same, attained only by a select few. Both opinion, and 
cognition, consist in comparisons and computations made by the 
mind about the facts of sense. But cognition (in Plato's view) 
has special marks : 

1. That it is infallible, while opinion is fallible. You have it 1 
or you have it not but there is no mistake possible. 

2. That it apprehends what Plato calls the real essence of 
things, and real truth, which, on the contrary, Opinion does not 

3. That the person who possesses it can maintain his own con- 
sistency under cross-examination, and can test the consistency of 
others by cross-examining them (Xoyoz/ dovyat KCU 6Vao-$at). 

This at least is the meaning which Plato assigns to the two 
words corresponding to Cognition and to Opinion, in the present 
dialogue, and often elsewhere. But he also frequently employs 
the word Cognition in a lower and more general signification, not 

f ! Schleiermaeher represents Plato as 
discriminating Knowledge (the region 
of infallibility, you either possess it or 
not) from Opinion (the region of falli- 
bility, true or false, as the case may 
be) by a broad and impassable line 

"Auch hieraus erwachst eine sehr 
entscheidende, nur ebenfalls nicht aus- 
dru'cklich gezogene, Folgerung, dass 
die reine Erkenntniss gar nicht auf 
demselben (Jebiet liegen kftime mit 
dem Irrthum und es in Bexiehung 
auf sie kein Wahr und Falsch gebe, 
sondern nur ein Haben oder Nicht 
Haben." (Schleiennacher, Einleit. zum 
Theaet. p. 176 ) 

Steinhart (in his Einleit. zum Theeet. 
p. 94) contests this opinion of Schleier- 
maeher (though he seems to give the 
same opinion himself, p. 92). He 
thinks that Plato does not recognise 
so very marked a separation between 
Knowledge and Opinion : that he con- 
siders Knowledge as the last term of 
a series of mental processes, developed 
gradually according to constant laws, 
and ascending from Sensible Percep- 
tion through Opinion to Knowledge : 
that the purpose of the Theaet^tus is 
to illustrate this theory. 

Ueberweg, on the contrary, defends 
the opinion of Schleiennacher and 
maintains that Steinhart is mistaken 
(Aechtheit und Zeit. Platon. Schriften, 
p. 279). 

Passages may be produced from 

Plato's writings to support both these 
views : that of Schleiermaeher, as well 
as that of Steinhart. In Tiiuams, p. 51 
E, the like infallibility is postulated for 
Nous (which there represents 'ETTCO-TTJ^TI) 
as contrasted with 66a. But I think 
that Steinhart ascribes to the These- 
tetus more than can fairly be discovered 
in it. That dialogue is purely nega- 
tive. It declares that en-ion^i) is not 
aio-0*jo-t. It then attempts to go a step 
farther towards the affirmative, by de- 
claring also that eTrto-Tif/inj is a mental 
process of computation, respecting the 
impressions of dicrGt] 0-15 that it is TO 
trvAAo-yuJeo-flcu, which is equivalent to 
TO Sogafriv : compare Phsedrus, 249 B. 
But this affirmative attempt breaks 
down : for Sokrates cannot explain 
what TO Sogagav is, nor how TO So aeti/ 
\//eu8ir) is possible ; in fact he says (p. 
200 B) that this cannot bo explained 
until we know what eTuo-Tij/uTj is. The 
entire result of the dialogue is nega- 
tive, as the closing words proclaim 
emphatically. On this point many of 
the commentators agree Ast, Socher, 
Stallbaum, Ueberweg, Zeller, &c. 

Whether it be true, as Schleier- 
maeher, with several others, thinks 
(Einl. pp. 184-185), that Plato intends 
to attack Aristippus in the first part 
of the dialogue, and Antisthenes in 
the latter part, we have no means of 


restricted, as it is here, to the highest philosophical reach, with 
infallibility but comprehending much of what is here treated 
only as opinion. Thus, for example, he often alludes to the 
various professional men as possessing Cognition, each in his 
respective department : the general, the physician, the gymnast, 
the steersman, the husbandman, &C. 1 But he certainly does 
not mean, that each of them has attained what he calls real 
essence and philosophical truths or that any of them are 

One farther remark must be made on Plato's doctrine. His 

remark That Cognition consists not in the affections 
Plato did i . . .- 

not reco"-- oi sense, but in computation or reasoning respecting 

flcation 11 ' those affections (i. e. abstraction, generalisation, &c.) 
from expe- is both true and important. But he has not added, 
from facts nor would he have admitted, that if we are to decide 
aseiSier whether our computation is true and right, or false 
necessary and erroneous our surest way is to recur to the 
orpossi e. g ^ m p^ e f actg o f gense _ Theory must be verified by 
observation ; wherever that cannot be done, the best guarantee 
is wanting. The facts themselves are not cognition : yet they 
are the test by which all computations, pretending to be cogni- 
tions, must be tried. 2 

We have thus, in enquiring What is Knowledge or Cogni- 
Second defl- ^ on ^ advanced so far as to discover That it does 
nition given not consist in sensible perception, but in some variety 
tus That of that purely mental process which is called opining, 
SSSistsin believing, judging, conceiving, &c. And here These- 
rightortrue tetus, being called upon for a second definition, 
opinion. m, . ** , . i * * 

answers lhat Knowledge consists in rig lit or true 

opinion. All opinion is not knowledge, because opinion is often 
false. 3 

SoJcr. But you are here assuming that there are false opinions'? 

1 Compare Plato, Sophistes, pp. 232 observers respecting the lunar motions 
E, 283 A. were for some time not in harmony 

2 See the remarks on the necessity with it. Plato certainly would not 
of Verification, as a guarantee for the have surrendered any ervAAoyicr/ubs 
Deductive Process, in Mr. John Stuart under the same respect to observed 
Mill's System of Logic, Book iii. ch. xi. facts. Aristotle might probably have 
s. 3. Newton puts aside his own com- done so ; but this is uncertain, 
putation or theory respecting gravity 3 Plato, Theset. p. 187 B. It is 
as the force which kept the moon in scarcely possible to translate Soaei> 
its orbit, because the facts reported by always by the same English word. 


How is this possible ? How can any man judge or 

opine falsely ? What mental condition is it which by Sokratea 

bears that name? I confess that I cannot tell : though JJ^S^J. 

I have often thought of the matter myself, and de- sumesthat 

bated it with others. 1 Every thing comes under the fais^opi^ 

head either of what a man knows, or of what he does "ions. Bnt 

' how can 

not know. If he conceives, it must be either the false opi- 

known, or the unknown. He cannot mistake either possible? 

one known thing for another known thing : or a ** ow ? an we 

, P conceive 

known thing for an unknown : or an unknown for a Non-Ens; or 

known : or one unknown for another unknown. But together 
to form a false opinion, he must err in one or other of 
these four ways. It is therefore impossible that he 
can form a false opinion.' 2 

If indeed a man ascribed to any subject a predicate which was 
non-existent, this would be evidently a false opinion. But how 
can any one conceive the non-existent ? He who conceives must 
conceive something : just as he who sees or touches, must see or 
touch something. He cannot see or touch the non-existent : for 
that would be to see or touch nothing : in other words, not to see 
or touch at all. In the same manner, to conceive the non- 
existent, or nothing, is impossible. 8 TheM. Perhaps he conceives 
two realities, but confounds them together, mistaking the one for 
the other. Sokr.- Impossible. If he conceives two distinct 
realities, he cannot suppose the one to be the other. Suppose 
him to conceive just and unjust, a horse and an ox he can never 
believe just to be unjust, or the ox to be the horse. 4 If, again, he 
conceives one of the two alone and singly, neither could he on 
that hypothesis suppose it to be the other : for that would imply 
that he conceived the other also. 

Let us look again in another direction (continues Sokrates). 

We have been hastv in our concessions. Is it reallv 

" Waxen rate- 
impossible for a man to conceive, that a thing, which morial tab- 
he knows, is another thing which he does not know ? mfcid/on 
Let us see. Grant me the hypothesis (for the sake of which past 

.,,,,. x , t , , if i i impressions 

illustration), that each man has in his mind a waxen are engrav- 

l Plato, Theset. p. 187 C. 3 Plato, Theset. pp. 188-189. 

a Plato, Thewt. p. 188. * Plato, Theset. p. UK). 


ed. False tablet the wax of one tablet being larger, firmer., 
opinion con- 11^- J.T. A i * * 1.1 

sists in cleaner, and better in every way, than that of another : 

identifying ^ ie 6^ ^ Mnemosyn^, for inscribing and registering 
present sen- our sensible perceptions and thoughts. Every man 
sations with , i i , i i Al 

pastimpres- remembers and knows these, so long as the impres- 
sions, sions of them remain upon his tablet : as soon as they 
are blotted out, he has forgotten them and no longer knows 
them. 1 Now false opinion may occur thus. A man having 
inscribed on his memorial tablet the impressions of two objects 
A and B, which he has seen before, may come to see one of these 
objects again ; but he may by mistake identify the present sensa- 
tion with the wrong past impression, or with that past impression 
to which it does not belong. Thus on seeing A, he may er- 
roneously identify it with the past impression B, instead of A : 
or vice versd.* False opinion will thus lie, not in the conjunction 
or identification of sensations with sensations nor of thoughts 
(or past impressions) with thoughts but in that of present sensa- 
tions with past impressions or thoughts. 3 

Having laid this down, however, Sokrates immediately pro- 
Sokratea re- ceeds to refute it. In point of fact, false conceptions 
assumption are ^ oun( ^ * prevail, not only in the wrong identi- 
Diiemma. fixation of present sensations with past impressions or 
opinion is Se thoughts, but also in the wrong identification of one 
or K'a! ' P ast i m P ress i n or thought with another. Thus a 
man may man, who has clearly engraved on his memorial tablet 
hedoesnot the conceptions of five, seven, eleven, twelve, may 
know. nevertheless, when asked what is the sum of seven 

and five, commit error and answer eleven : thus mistaking 
eleven for twelve. 

We are thus placed in this dilemma Either false opinion is 
an impossibility : Or else, it is possible that what a man knows, 
he may not know. Which of the two do you choose ? 4 

To this question no answer is given. But Sokrates, after 
He draws remarking on the confused and unphilosophical man- 
distinction ner in which the debate has been conducted, both he 
possessing and Theaetetus having perpetually employed the 

1 Plato, Theeet. p. 191 C. Krjpwov * Plato, Theset. p. 196 C. vvv Se 
eKjuuxyeiof. }TOI OVK e<rri ^evfirjs 6<Ja, i) a rts otSev, 

2 Plato, Theset. pp. 193-194. otai/ re /uwj elfieVai *al TOVTUV Trorepot 
8 Plato, Theset. p. 195 D. otpet; 


words know, 'knowledge, and their equivalents, as if knowledge, 
, , * ,.1 j A i i and ^ving 

the meaning of the words were ascertained, whereas it actually 

the very problem debated is, to ascertain their mean- si^JSJJljf 

ing i takes up another path of enquiry. He dis- the pigeon- 

,.11, T 1-1 T, . cage with 

tmguishes between possessing knowledge, and having caught 

it actually in hand or on his person : which distinc- fu?ned S into 
tion he illustrates by comparing the mind to a pigeon- it . an< J fi y8 
cage. A man hunts and catches pigeons, then turns 
them into the cage, within the limits of which they fly about : 
when he wants to catch any one of them for use, he has to go 
through a second hunt, sometimes very troublesome : in which 
he may perhaps either fail altogether, or catch the wrong one 
instead of the right. The first hunt Sokrates compares to the 
acquisition of knowledge : the second, to the getting it into his 
hand for use. 2 A man may know, in the first sense, and not 
know, in the second : he may have to hunt about for the cogni- 
tion which (in the first sense) he actually possesses. In trying to 
catch one cognition, he may confound it with another : and this 
constitutes false opinion the confusion of two cognita one with 
another. 3 

Yet how can such a confusion be possible ? (Sokrates here 
again replies to himself.) How can knowledge be- 
tray a man into such error ? If he knows A, and f^tea this' " 
knows B -how can he mistake A for B ? Upon ^ff^tf 
this supposition, knowledge produces the effect of tus That 
ignorance : and we might just as reasonably imagine 
ignorance to produce the effects of knowledge. 4 Per- 
haps (suggests Theoetetus), he may have non-cognitions well as cog- 

in his mind, mingled with the cognitions : and in t? false"* 

hunting for a cognition, he may catch a non-cognition. JJJJJ^ ?JJ ay 
Herein may lie false opinion. That can hardly be confoimd- 
(replies Sokrates). If the man catches what is really the other!* 1 
a non-cognition, he will not suppose it to be such, ^S^this 
but to be a cognition. He will believe himself fully 
to know, that in which he is mistaken. But how is it possible 
that he should confound a non-cognition with a cognition, or vice 

1 Plato, Theaet. p. 196 D. 3 Plato, Theset. p. 199 C. 

Plato, Hurt. pp. 197-198. *"&&, SSKJ 


versd 1 Does not he know the one from the other ? We must 
then require him to have a separate cognition of his own cogni- 
tions or non-cognitions and so on ad infinitum. 1 The hypo- 
thesis cannot be admitted. 

We cannot find out (continues Sokrates) what false opinion is : 
and we have plainly done wrong to search for it, until we have 
first ascertained what knowledge is. 2 

Moreover, as to the question, Whether knowledge is identical 
He brings with true opinion, Sokrates produces another argu- 

another ment to prove that it is not so : and that the two are 

argument to ._ * , T . ._ , 

prove that widely diner ent. You can communicate true opinion 

nofthe 011 1S without communicating knowledge : and the power- 
same as true ful class of rhetors and litigants make it their special 
Rhetors business to do so. They persuade, without teaching, 
commuifi- r a numerous audience. 3 During the hour allotted to 

cate true them for discourse, thev create, in the minds of the 
opinion; but , , , ,., , . . . ,. 

they do not assembled dikasts, true opinions respecting compli- 

communi- ca -ted incidents of robbery or other unlawfulness, at 
cate know- which none of the dikasts have been personally pre- 
e ge ' sent. Upon this opinion the dikasts decide, and de- 

cide rightly. But they cannot possibly know the facts without 
having been personally present and looking on. That is essential 
to knowledge or cognition. 4 Accordingly, they have acquired 
true and right opinions ; yet without acquiring knowledge. 
Therefore the two are not the same. 5 

1 Plato, Theopt. p. 200 B. sensible perception. The Dikasts (ac- 

2 Plato, Theset. p. 200 C. cording to Sokrates) would have known 

3 Plato, Theret. p. 201 A. OTOI yap the case, had they been present when 
irov r-fj eavrwv re'xvT} -rreiOovo-w, ov it occurred, so as to see and hear it : 
StSda-Kovres, dAAd Soj-agew TroiovvTes a there is no other way of acquiring 
o.v /3ouAwpTo.t. knowledge. 

4 piato, Theset. p. 201 B-C. OVKOVV Hearing the case only by the naff- 
orav StKauo? Trettrdwtrt SiKacrrai irepi S> v ration of speakers, they can acquire 
iSovT i fjiovov e err iv eiSevat, nothing more than a true opinion. 
aAAws fie Hi), ravra rare e^ aKOTj? Hence we learn wherein consists the 
KptvofT9, dA.Tj^ fiofav Aa/Sdi/res, difference between the two. That 
oi/ev 7rt(nn7ju.T7s eWpti/ai/, bpBo. Treio-^eVTe?, which I see, hear, or apprehend by 
ettrep e5 e&iKa<ra.v ; any sensible perception, I know : com- 

5 The distinction between persuad- pare a passage in Sophistes, p. 267 A-B, 
ing and teaching between creating where TO yi-yi/dio-Keii/ is explained in 
opinion and imparting knowledge has the same way. But that which I learn 
been brought to view in the Gorgias, from the testimony of others amounts 
and is noted also in the Timeeus. As it to nothing more than opinion ; and at 
Stands here, it deserves notice, because best to a true opinion. 

Plato not only professes to affirm what Plato's reasoning here involves an 

knowledge is, but also identifies it with admission of the very doctrine which 


Theaete'tus now recollects another definition of knowledge, 

learnt from some one whose name he forgets. Know- New anawer 

ledge is (he says) true opinion, coupled with rational Jug 1 cT^i 

explanation. True opinion without such rational ex- tion is true 

planation, is not knowledge. Those things which do coimled' 

not admit of rational explanation, are"not knowable. 1 with ra- 

Taking up this definition, and elucidating it farther, planation. 

Sokrates refers to the analogy of words and letters, criticism on 

Letters answer to the primordial elements of things : he answer 
i . -I i p, IT bySokrates. 

which are not matters either of knowledge, or of true Analogy of 

opinion, or of rational explanation but simply of words! prim- 
sensible perception. A letter, or a primordial ele- ordialeie- 
, -IT -11 n i T ments and 
ment, can only be perceived and called by its name, compounds. 

You cannot affirm of it any predicate or any epithet : ^{jJJtbS 

you cannot call it existing, or this, or that or each, or explained : 

. , T ,-, ,, ., OP-,, compounds 

single, or by any other name than its own : - for 11 alone can be 

you do, you attach to it something extraneous to ox P lame(i - 
itself, and then it ceases to be an element. But syllables, words, 
propositions i. e., the compounds made up by putting together 
various letters or elements admit of being known, explained, 
and described, by enumerating the component elements. You 
may indeed conceive them correctly, without being able to 
explain them or to enumerate their component elements : but 
then you do not know them. You can only be said to know 

he had before taken so much pains to eti/ot ryv Se aXoyov, e/erbs eirto-T-tw; 

confute the doctrine that Cognition *cal S>v /u.ei/ ^ e<rrc. Aoyos, ov* ema-Tyrd. 

is Sensible Perception. Yet he takes eli/cu, ouruxrl al 6 v o /u.aa> v, US' 

no notice of the inconsistency. An ex<?t, en-to-T^Td, 

occasion for sneering at the Rhetors and The words ouroxrl Kal bvpnafrv are 

Dikasts is always tempting to him. intended, according to Heindorf and 

So, in the Menon (p. 97 B), the man Schleiermacher, to justify the use of 

who has been at Larissais said to know the word e7n<mrrd, which was then a 

the road to Larissa; as distinguished neologism. Both this definition, and 

from another man who, never having the elucidation of it which Sokrates 

been there, opines correctly which the proceeds to furnish, are announced as 

road is. And in the Sophistes (p. 263) borrowed from other persons not 

when Plato is illustrating the doctrine named. 

that false propositions, as well as true j 2 Plato, Theset. pp. 201 E 202 A. 

propositions, are possible, and really O.VTO yap KaO' O.VTO j-Kacrrov^ bvo^aa-at. 

occur, he selects as his cases, eaiTTjros ^QVQV 6117, irpoo-eLireiv 8$ ovSZv aAAo 

Kadwrat, ecurrjTO? TreTerat. That one Svvarov, ovd' d>9 eartv, ovO' o>s ove 

of these propositions is false and the e<mv 17817 yap ov oixrCav T) /U.T) ovcriav 

other true, can be known only by O.VTW irpoa-ridearOai,, Selv 6e ovSev Trpo<r- 

at<r0T)<ris in the sense of that word <Wpei/, etn-ep avrb IKCIVO fiovov TI? pet 

commonly understood. eirei ovSt rb avro, ovfi^ rb i/eeii/o, 

1 Plato, Thesetet. p. 201 D. TTJV /u,ei/ ovSe rb eKacrroi/, ouSe TO fiovov, 

/ULera Xoyov aArj^rj Sot-ay ewt<rr7/u,rjj' ovSeroTovro, irpo<rourreov t ov6* aAAa 




f utes this 
criticism. If 
the ele- 
ments are 
able, the 
must be 
able also. 

them, when besides conceiving them correctly, you can also 
specify their component elements l or give explanation. 

Having enunciated this definition, as one learnt from another 
person not named, Sokrates proceeds to examine and 
confute it. It rests on the assumption (he says), that 
the primordial elements are themselves unknowable ; 
and that it is only the aggregates compounded of 
them which are knowable. Such an assumption can- 
not be granted. The result is either a real sum total, 
including both the two component elements : or it is 
a new form, indivisible and uricompounded, generated 
by the two elements, but not identical with them nor including 
them in itself. If the former, it is not knowable, because if 
neither of the elements are knowable, both together are not 
knowable : when you know neither A nor B you cannot know 
either the sum or the product of A and B. If the latter, then 
the result, being indivisible and uncompounded, is unknowable 
for the same reason as the elements are so : it can only be named 
by its own substantive name, but nothing can be predicated re- 
specting it. 2 

Nor can it indeed be admitted as true That the elements are 
unknowable, and the compound alone knowable. On the con- 
trary, the elements are more knowable than the compound. 3 

When you say (continues Sokrates) that knowledge is true 
Rational opinion coupled with rational explanation, you may 
mean ^7 rational explanation one of three things. 1. 

one of three The power of enunciating the opinion in clear and 
different L . . , rm . 1 , . , , 

appropriate words. This every one learns to do, who 


1. Descrip- 
tion in ap- 

2. Enumera- 
tion of all 
the compo- 
nent ele- 
ments in the 
In neither 
of these 

is not dumb or an idiot : so that in this sense true 
opinion will always carry with it rational explana- 
tion. 2. The power of describing the thing in ques- 
tion by its component elements. Thus Hesiod says 
that there are a hundred distinct wooden pieces in a 
waggon : you and I do not know nor can we describe 
them all : we can distinguish only the more obvious 
fractions the wheels, the axle, the body, the yoke, 

TOtaura' TO.VTO. fiev -yotp Treptrpe- 
VTO. ffeurt irpoox^e'peordai, eVepa ovra. 
ots fl-pocrTt'dcrat. Also p. 205 C. 

1 Plato, Theset. p. 202. 

2 Plato, Theset. pp. 203-205. 

3 Plato, Theset. p. 206. 


&c. Accordingly, we cannot be said to know a will the 

ii A i ,. ,. o. i definition 

waggon : we have only a true opinion about it. Such of Cognition 

is the second sense of \6yos or rational explanation. hold% 
But neither in this sense will the proposition hold That know- 
ledge is right opinion coupled with rational explanation. For 
suppose that a man can enumerate, spell, and write correctly, all 
the syllables of the name Theoetetus which would fulfil the con- 
ditions of this definition : yet, if he mistakes and spells wrongly 
in any other name, such as Theoddrus, you will not give him 
credit for knowledge. You will say that he writes Themtetus 
correctly, by virtue of right opinion simply. It is therefore 
possible to have right opinion coupled with rational explanation, 
in this second sense also, yet without possessing knowledge. 1 

3. A third meaning of this same word \6yos or rational expla- 
nation, is, that in which it is most commonly under- Thirdmean- 
stood To be able to assign some mark whereby the * n ^ ^^' 
thing to be explained differs from every thing else mark, 
to differentiate the thing. 2 Persons, who understand thethirig 
the word in this way, affirm, that so long as you only ^-^f " 
seize what the thing has in common with other differs from 
things, you have only a true opinion concerning it : else yt The 
but when you seize what it has peculiar and charac- definition 
teristic, you then possess knowledge of it. Such is hold. For 
their view : but though it seems plausible at first explana- 
sight (says Sokrates), it will not bear close scrutiny. tion "} thia 
For in order to have a true opinion about any thing, already 

I must have in my mind not only what it possesses ^true 3 
in common with other things, but what it possesses opinion. 
peculiar to itself also. Thus if I have a true opinion about 
Theoetetus, I must have in my mind not only the attributes 
which belong to him in common with other men, but also those 
which belong to him specially and exclusively. Rational expla- 
nation (Xoyos) in this sense is already comprehended in true 
opinion, and is an essential ingredient in it not any new ele- 
ment superadded. It will not serve therefore as a distinction 
between true opinion and knowledge. 3 

1 Plato, Theset. pp. 207-208 B.^ ecrnv ay oi iro\\ol eiTroiei/, TO e^ei!/ TI n?]U*toi> 
apo jw,era \6yov bpfy Soa, fyv OVTTW Bel elireiv (f ruv a.ira.vr(av fiicu^e'pet TO ip<a- 
kiri<rrTf) u.rtv KaAeu/. rnQev. 

2 Plato, ThesetSt. p. 208 C. "OTrep 3 Plato, Theaetdt. p. 209. 




Such is the result (continues Sokrates) of our researches con- 
cerning knowledge. We have found that it is neither 
sensible perception nor true opinion nor true 
opinion along with rational explanation. But what 
it is, we have not found. Are we still pregnant with 
any other answer, Thesetetus, or have we brought 
forth all that is to come? I have brought forth 
(replies Theeotetus) more than I had within me, 
through your furtherance. Well (rejoins Sokrates) 
and my obstetric science has pronounced all your offspring to be 
mere wind, unworthy of being preserved ! a If hereafter you 
should again become pregnant, your offspring will be all the 
better for our recent investigation. If on the other hand you 
should always remain barren, you will be more amiable and less 
vexatious to your companions by having a just estimate of your- 
self, and by not believing yourself to know what you really do 
not know. 2 

of the dia- 
up by So- 
Value of 
the result, 

The concluding observations of this elaborate dialogue deserve 
particular attention as illustrating Plato's point of 
view, at the time when he composed the Theeete"tus. 
After a long debate, set forth with all the charm of 
Plato's style, no result is" attained. Three different 
explanations of knowledge have been rejected as 
untenable. 3 No other can be found ; nor is any 
suggestion offered, showing in what quarter we are 
to look for the true one. What then is the purpose 
or value of the dialogue 1 Many persons would pronounce it to 
be a mere piece of useless ingenuity and elegance : but such is 
not the opinion of Plato himself. Sufficient gain (in his view) 
will have been ensured, if Thesctetus has acquired a greater power 

Remarks on 
the dia- 
logue. View 
of Plato. 
False per- 
suasion of 
of such 

l Plato, Theactet. p. 210 B. ^OVKOV 

ravra ftev arravTa. >) /btaievrijoj 'hf^'iv TCYI/ 
ape/uuaia ^ijcn yeyei>ij<r0ai /cat OVK aft 

lato, Theset. p. 210 C. 
ywvfl (eyKv/buoi'), /3e\rtoPb>i/ eV 
ota rrjv vvv e^e'rcum/ edv re KGVOS 
%TTOV eerei /3api>y TOIS <rvvov<n 
repos, <r(o<>p6pa>s OVK oto/ei/o$ 
JIT) olcrdu. 

Compare also an earlier passage in 
the dialogue, p. 187 B. 

8 1 have already observed, however, 
that in one passage of the interroga. 
6 "", Te tion carried on by Sokrates (p. 201 A-B, 
,1-ST where he is distinguishing between 
; persuasion and teaching), he uncon- 
* sciously admits the identity between 
knowledge and sensible perception. 


of testing any fresh explanation which he may attempt of this 
difficult subject : or even if he should attempt none such, by his 
being disabused, at all events, of the false persuasion of knowing 
where he is really ignorant. Such false persuasion of knowledge 
(Plato here intimates) renders a man vexatious to associates ; 
while a right estimate of his own knowledge and ignorance 
fosters gentleness and moderation of character. In this view, 
false persuasion of knowledge is an ethical defect, productive of 
positive mischief in a man's intercourse with others : the removal 
of it improves his character, even though no ulterior step towards 
real and positive knowledge be made. The important thing is, 
that he should acquire the power of testing and verifying all 
opinions, old as well as new. This, which is the only guarantee 
against the delusive self-satisfaction of sham knowledge, must be 
firmly established in the mind before it is possible to aspire 
effectively to positive and assured knowledge. The negative 
arm of philosophy is in its application prior to the positive, and 
indispensable, as the single protection against error and false 
persuasion of knowledge. Sokrates is here depicted as one in 
whom the negative vein is spontaneous and abundant, even to a 
pitch of discomfort as one complaining bitterly, that objections 
thrust themselves upon him, unsought and unwelcome, against 
conclusions which he had himself just previously taken pains to 
prove at length. 1 

To form in men's minds this testing or verifying power, is one 
main purpose in Plato's dialogues of Search and in Formation 
some of them the predominant purpose ; as he him- J^e * e 
self announces it to be in the Thesetetus. I have fymg power 
already made the same remark before, and I repeat it minds, 
here ; since it is absolutely necessary for appreciating TliesBt^tus 10 
these dialogues of Search in their true bearing and asitexhi-' 
value. To one who does not take account of the 
negative arm of philosophy, as an auxiliary without 
which the positive arm will strike at random half gestions. 
of the Platonic dialogues will teach nothing, and will even 
appear as enigmas the Thesetetus among the foremost. Plato 
excites and strengthens the interior mental wakefulness of the 

i See the emphatic passage, p. 195 B-C. 



hearer, to judge respecting all affirmative theories, whether 
coming from himself or from others. This purpose is well served 
by the manner in which Sokratea more than once in this dia- 
logue first announces, proves, and builds up a theory then 
unexpectedly changes his front, disproves, and demolishes it. 
We are taught that it is not difficult to find a certain stock of 
affirmative argument which makes the theory look well from a 
distance : we must inspect closely, and make sure that there are 
no counter-arguments in the background. 1 The way in which 
Sokrates pulls to pieces his own theories, is farther instructive, 
as it illustrates the exhortation previously addressed by him to 
Thesettus not to take offence when his answers were canvassed 
and shown to be inadmissible. 2 

A portion of the dialogue to which I have not yet adverted, 
Comparison illustrates this anxiety for the preliminary training 

of the Phi- of the ratiocinative power, as an indispensable quali- 
losopher .. x . . , et ,. . * 

with the ncation tor any special research. "We nave plenty 

The Rhetor ^ l e ^ sure f r investigation 3 (says Sokrates). We are 

is enslaved not tied to time, nor compelled to march briefly and 
to the opi- i . , <, ... i -n i 

irions of directly towards some positive result. Engaged as we 

auditors. are - n investigating philosophical truth, we stand 
in pointed contrast with politicians and rhetors in the public 
assembly or dikastery. We are like freemen ; they, like slaves. 
They have before them the Dikasts, as their masters, to whose 
temper and approbation they are constrained to adapt themselves. 
They are also in presence of antagonists, ready to entrap and 
confute them. The personal interests, sometimes even the life, 
of an individual are at stake ; so that every thing must be sacri- 
ficed to the purpose of obtaining a verdict. Men brought up in 
these habits become sharp in observation and emphatic in expres- 
sion ; but merely with a view to win the assent and approbation 
of the master before them, as to the case in hand. No free 
aspirations or spontaneous enlargement can have place in their 
minds. They become careless of true and sound reasoning 
slaves to the sentiment of those whom they address and adepts 
in crooked artifice which they take for wisdom. 4 

1 Plato, Theaetet. p. 208 E. A.TJI/ <rvoAi}i/ ayovres, ircEAiv tirava<rKt\l/6- 

s Plato, Theaetet. p. 161 C. /*<0a, &c. ; also p. 172. 

Plato, Theset p. 155. ws waw wo\- * Plato, Thesetfct. pp. 172-173. 


Of all this (continues Sokrates) the genuine philosopher is the 
reverse. He neither possesses, nor cares to possess, ThePhilo- 
the accomplishments of the lawyer and politician, sopheris 
He takes no interest in the current talk of the city ; his own 
nor in the scandals afloat against individual persons. debates - 
He does not share in the common ardour for acquiring power or 
money ; nor does he account potentates either happier or more 
estimable for possessing them. Being ignorant and incompetent 
in the affairs of citizenship as well as of common life, he has no 
taste for club-meetings or joviality. His mind, despising the 
particular and the practical, is absorbed in constant theoretical 
research respecting universals. He spares no labour in investi- 
gating What is man in general? and what are the attributes, 
active and passive, which distinguish man from other things? 
He will be overthrown and humiliated before the Dikastery by a 
clever rhetor. But if this opponent chooses to ascend out of the 
region of speciality, and the particular ground of injustice alleged 
by A against B into the general question, What is justice or 
injustice ? Wherein do they differ from each other or from other 
things? What constitutes happiness and misery? How is the 
one to be attained and the other avoided? If the rhetor will 
meet the philosopher on this elevated ground, then he will find 
himself put to shame and proved to be incompetent, in spite of 
all the acute stratagems of his petty mind. 1 He will look like a 
child and become ashamed of himself : 2 but the philosopher is 
noway ashamed of his incompetence for slavish pursuits, while 
he is passing a life of freedom and leisure among his own 
dialectics. 8 

In these words of Sokrates we read a contrast between practice 
and theory one of the most eloquent passages in the 
dialogues wherein Plato throws overboard the ordi- Dialogue to 
nary concerns and purposes both of public and private f ^ of & 
life, admitting that true philosophers are unfit for 
them. The passage, while it teaches us caution in 

I give only an abstract of this elo- a the rhetors whom he depreciates 

quent passage, not an exact translation, though he had also, besides, other lofty 

Steinhart (Einleitung zum Thesetet. p. intellectual peculiarities of his own, 

37) calls it "a sublime Hymn" (einen beyond these rivals, 
erhabenen Hymnus). It is a fine piece * Plato, Theaet. pp. 175-176. 
of poetry or rhetoric, and shows that 2 Plato, Thecet. p. 177 B. 
Plato was by nature quite as rhetorical Plato, Thewt. p. 175 E. 


receiving his criticisms on the defects of actual statesmen and 
men of action, informs us at the same time that he regarded phi- 
losophy as the only true business of life the single pursuit 
worthy to occupy a freeman. 1 This throws light on the purpose 
of many of his dialogues. He intends to qualify the mind for a 
life of philosophical research, and with this view to bestow pre- 
liminary systematic training on the ratiocinative power. To 
announce at once his own positive conclusions with their reasons^ 
(as I remarked before) is not his main purpose. A pupil who, 
having got all these by heart, supposed himself to have com- 
pleted his course of philosophy, so that nothing farther remained 
to be done, would fall very short of the Platonic exigency. The 
life of the philosopher as Plato here conceives it is a perpetual 
search after truth, by dialectic debate and mutual cross-examina- 
tion between two minds, aiding each other to disembroil that 
confusion and inconsistency which grows up naturally in the 
ordinary mind. For such a life a man becomes rather disquali- 
fied than prepared, by swallowing an early dose of authoritative 
dogmas and proofs dictated by his teacher. The two essential 
requisites for it are, that he should acquire a self-acting ratio- 
cinative power, and an earnest, untiring, interest in the dialectic 
process. Both these aids Plato's negative dialogues arc well cal- 
culated to afford : and when we thus look at his purpose, we 
shall see clearly that it did not require the presentation of any 
positive result. 

The course of this dialogue the Thesete'tus has been already 
Difficulties described as an assemblage of successive perplexities 
of the There- without any solution. But what deserves farther 
solved ki not notice is That the perplexities, as they are not 
rSalo^ue* s l ve d * n thi 8 dialogue, so they are not solved in any 
other dialogue. The view taken by Schleiermacher 
and other critics that Plato lays out the difficulties in one 
anterior dialogue, in order to furnish the solution in another 
posterior is not borne out by the facts. In the Theaetetus, 
many objections are propounded against the doctrine, That 
Opinion is sometimes true, sometimes false. Sokrates shows 
that false opinion is an impossibility : either therefore all 

1 Plato, Sophist^, p. 253 C : i) r>v S\cv04p<av e 


opinions are true, or no opinion is either true or false. If we 
turn to the Sophiste's, we shall find this same question discussed 
by the Eleatic Stranger who conducts the debate. He there 
treats the doctrine That false opinion is an impossibility and 
that no opinion could be false as one which had long embar- 
rassed himself, and which formed the favourite subterfuge of the 
impostors whom he calls Sophists. He then states that this doc- 
trine of the Sophists was founded on the Parmenidean dictum 
That Non-Ens was an impossible supposition. Refuting the 
dictum of Parmenides (by a course of reasoning which I shall 
examine elsewhere), he arrives at the conclusion That Non-Ens 
exists in a certain fashion, as well as Ens : That false opinions 
are possible : That there may be false opinions as well as true. 
But what deserves most notice here, in illustration of Plato's 
manner, is that though the Sophistes l is announced as a con- 
tinuation of the Thesetetus (carried on by the same speakers, 
with the addition of the Eleate), yet the objections taken by 
Sokrates in the Theaete'tus against the possibility of false opinion, 
are not even noticed in the Sophistfis much less removed. 
Other objections to it are propounded and dealt with : but not 
those objections which had arrested the march of Sokrates in the 
Theaetetus. 2 Sokrates and Theaetetus hear the Eleatic Stranger 

1 See the end of the Theset^tus and very explication of tyev&rjs Sofa is there 
the opening of the Sophistes. Note, enunciated and impugned by Sokrates 
moreover, that the Politikus makes in a long argument. He calls it there 
reference not only to the SophistCs, &\\o8oia, erepoSogia, TO erepoSogelv 
but also to the Theaetetus (pp. 258 A, (pp. 189 A, 190 K, 193 D). No man 
266 D, 284 B, 28G B). (he says) can mistake one thing for 

2 In the Sophistes, the Eleate esta- another ; if this were so, he must be 
blishes (to his own satisfaction) that supposed both to know and not _ to 
TO /XT) ov is not evavriov TOV bvros, but know the same thing, which is im- 
erepoy TOV OVTOS (p. 257 B), that it is possible (pp. 196 A, 200 A). There- 
one yet/os among the various ye'irj fore ^euSrjs fid^a is impossible. 

(p. 260 B), and that it (TO /uuj ov Of these objections, urged by Sokrates 

Koivtavei) enters into communion or in the Theaetetus, against the possi- 

coinbination with Soa, Adyos, Qav- bility of AAAo$ota, no notice is taken 

rao-t'a, &c. It is therefore possible that in the Sophiste's either by Sokrates, or 

there may be ^evfirjs 8d|a or \J/ev8Tjs by Theaetetus, or by the Eleate in the 

Adyos, when you affirm, respecting any Sophistfis. Indeed the Eleate congra- 

given subject, eVepa raiv OVTWV or ra tuiates himself upon the explanation as 

/u/J) ovra toy OTTO. (p. 263 B-C). Plato more satisfactory than he had expected 

considers that the case is thus made to find (p. 264 B) : and speaks with dis- 

out against the Sophist, as the impostor pleasure of the troublesome persons who 

and dealer in falsehoods ; false opinion stir up doubts and contradictions (p. 259 

being proved to be possible and ex- C) : very different from the tone of So- 

plicable. krates in the ThesetStus (p. 195, B-C). 

But if we turn to the ThesetStus I may farther remark that Plato, in 

(p. 189 seq.), we shall see that this the Republic, reasons about TO jufc &P 


discussing tins same matter in the Sophistes, yet neither of them 
allude to those objections against his conclusion which had 
appeared to both of them irresistible in the preceding dialogue 
known as Thesetetus. Nor are the objections refuted in any 
other of the Platonic dialogues. 

Such a string of objections never answered, and of difficulties 
Plato con without solution, may appear to many persons nuga- 
sidered that tory as well as tiresome. To Plato they did not 
for Truth appear so. At the time when most of his dialogues 

was the were composed, he considered that the Search after 

noblest i 

occupation truth was at once the noblest occupation, and the 

e ' highest pleasure, of life. Whoever has 110 sympathy 

with such a pursuit whoever cares only for results, and finds 
the chase in itself fatiguing rather than attractive is likely to 
take little interest in the Platonic dialogues. To repeat what I 
said in Chapter VI. Those who expect from Plato a coherent 
system in which affirmative dogmas are first to be laid down, 
with the evidence in their favour next, the difficulties and ob- 
jections against them enumerated lastly, these difficulties solved 
will be disappointed. Plato is, occasionally, abundant in his 
affirmations : he has also great negative fertility in starting ob- 
jections : but the affirmative current does not come into conflict 
with the negative. His belief is enforced by rhetorical fervour, 
poetical illustration, and a vivid emotional fancy. These ele- 
ments stand to him in the place of positive proof ; and when his 
mind is full of them, the unsolved objections, which he himself 
had stated elsewhere, vanish out of sight. Towards the close of 
his life (as we shall see in the Treatise De Legibus), the love of 
dialectic, and the taste for enunciating difficulties even when he 
could not clear them up, died out within him. He becomes 

in the Parmenidean sense, and not in the Sophisms, I think a stronger case 

the sense which he ascribed to it in the of discrepancy might be set forth than 

Sophistfis, and which he recognises in he has stated ; though the end of the 

the Politikus, p. 284 B. (Republic, v. former is tied to the beginning of the 

pp. 477 A, 478 C.) latter plainly, directly, and inten- 

Socher (Ueber Platon's Schriften, pp. tionally. But I do not agree in his 

260-270) points out the discrepancy inference. He concludes that the So- 

between the doctrines of the Eleate in phistSs is not Plato's composition : I 

the SophisteX and those maintained by conclude, that the scope for dissident 

Sokrates in other Platonic dialogues ; views and doctrine, within the long 

inferring from thence that the Spphist6s philosophical career and numerous dia- 

and Politikus are not compositions of logues of Plato } is larger than bis con 

Plato. As between the Theaetetus and inentators admit. 


ultra-dogmatical, losing even the poetical richness and fervour 
which had once marked his affirmations, and substituting in their 
place a strict and compulsory orthodoxy. 

The contrast between the philosopher and the man engaged in 
active life which is so emphatically set forth in the contrastbe- 
Thesetetus l falls in with the distinction between tween the 
Knowledge and Opinion The Infallible and the and the 

Fallible. It helps the purpose of the dialogue, to 

show what knowledge is not : and it presents the dis- between 
i> -i ,1 , ,1 ,->> i i Knowledge 

tinction between the two on the ethical and emo- andOpi- 
tional side, upon which Plato laid great stress. The mon * 
philosopher (or man of Knowledge, i.e. Knowledge viewed on its 
subjective side) stands opposed to the men of sensible perception 
and opinion, not merely in regard to intellect, but in regard to 
disposition, feeling, character, and appreciation of objects. He 
neither knows nor cares about particular things or particular 
persons : all his intellectual force, and all his emotional interests, 
are engaged in the contemplation of Universals or Real Entia, 
and of the great pervading cosmical forces. He despises the 
occupations of those around him, and the actualities of life, like 
the Platonic Sokrates in the Gorgias : 2 assimilating himself as 
much as possible to the Gods ; who have no other occupation 
(according to the Aristotelian 3 Ethics), except that of contem- 
plating and theorising. He pursues these objects not with a 
view to any ulterior result, but because the pursuit is in itself a 
life both of virtue and happiness ; neither of which are to be 
found in the region of opinion. Intense interest in speculation 
is his prominent characteristic. To dwell amidst these contem- 
plations is a self-sufficing life ; even without any of the aptitudes 
or accomplishments admired by the practical men. If the phi- 
losopher meddles with their pursuits, he is not merely found 
incompetent, but also incurs general derision ; because his in- 
competence becomes manifest even to the common-place citizens. 
But if they meddle with his speculations, they fail not less dis- 
gracefully ; though their failure is not appreciated by the unphi- 
losophical spectator. 

i Plato, Thesetet. pp. 173-176. Com- * See above, chap. xxiv. p. 355. 
pare Republic, v. pp. 476-477, vii. p. 8 Ethic. Nikomach. x. 8, p. 1178, b. 
617. 9-25. 




The professors of Knowledge are thus divided by the strongest 
lines from the professors of Opinion. And opinion itself The 
Fallible is, in this dialogue, presented as an inexplicable puzzle. 
You talk about true and false opinions : but how can false 
opinions be possible ? and if they are not possible, what is the 
meaning of true, as applied to opinions ? Not only, therefore, 
opinion can never be screwed up to the dignity of knowledge 
but the world of opinion itself defies philosophical scrutiny. It 
is a chaos in which there is neither true nor false ; in perpetual 
oscillation (to use the phrase of the Eepublic) between Ens and 
Non-Ens. 1 

i Plato, Republic, v. pp. 478-479. 

The Thefetetus is more in harmony 
(in reference to 86a and emarfyu.!?) 
with the Republic, than with the 
Sophistes and Politikus. In the Po- 
litikus (p. 309 C) <xA>j0T)s 56a /uiera 
/3e/3<uw <rew? is placed very nearly on 
a par with knowledge : in the Menon 
also, the difference between the two, 
though clearly declared, is softened in 
degree, pp. 97-98. 

[The Alexandrine physician Hero- 
philus attempted to draw, between 
Trp^pTjtris and irpoyi/axris, the same 
distinction as thai which Plato draws 
between 56a and eTnam^ The 
Fallible as contrasted with the In- 
fallible. Galen shows that the dis- 
tinction is untenable (Prim. Com- 
mentat. in Hippokratis Prorrhetica, 
Tom. xvi. p. 487, ed. Kiihn). 

Bonitz, in his Platonische Studien 
(pp. 41-78), has given an instructive 
analysis and discussion of the Theaa- 
ttus. I find more to concur with in 
his views, than in those of Schleier- 

macher or Steinhari He disputes alto- 
gether the assumption of other Platonic 
critics, that a purely negative result is 
unworthy of Plato ; and that the nega- 
tive apparatus is an artifice to recom- 
mend, and a veil to conceal, some great 
affirmative truth, which acute exposi- 
tors can detect and enunciate plainly 
(Schleiermacher, Einleit. zum ThesetSt. 
p. 124 seq.). Bonitz recognises the re- 
sult of the Thesetetus as purely nega- 
tive, and vindicates the worth of it as 
such. Moreover, instead of denouncing 
the opinions which Plato combats, as if 

Ewere perverse heresies of dishonest 
nders, he adverts to the g^reat dif- 
y of those problems which both 
Plato and Plato's opponents undertook 
to elucidate : and he remarks that, in 
those early days, the first attempts to 
explain psychological phenomena were 
even more liable to error than the first 
attempts to explain physical pheno- 
mena (pp. 75-77). Such recognition, 
of the real difficulty of a problem, is 
rare among the Platonic critics. 






THESE two dialogues are both of them announced by Plato as 
forming sequel to the Thesetetus. The beginning of p ergons 

the Sophistes fits on to the end of the Thesetetus : and and circum- 
,1 T TJ.-I j. i i stances of 

the Politikus is even presented as a second part or the two 

continuation of the Sophistes. 1 In all the three, the dial g ues - 

i At the beginning of the Politikus, 
Plato makes Sokratcs refer both to the 
Theaete'tus and to the SophistSs (p. 
258 A). In more than one passage of 
the Politikus (pp. 266 J>, 284 B, 280 B), 
he even refers to the Sophistes directly 
and by name, noticing certain points 
touched in it a thing very unusual 
with him. In the Sophistos also (p. 
233 B), express reference is made to a 
passage in the Thetetetus. 

See also the allusion in Sophistes 
(to the appearance of the younger So- 
krates as respondent), p. 218 B. 

Socher (in his work, Ueber Platon's 
Schriften, pp. 258-294) maintains that 
neither the Sophistes, nor the Politikus, 
nor the Parmenid6s, are genuine works 
of Plato, He conceives the two dia- 
logues to be contemporary with the 
Thesete'tus (which he holds to have 
been written by Plato), but to have 
been composed by some acute philoso- 
pher of the Megaric school, conversant 
with the teachings of Sokrates and with 
the views of Plato, after the visit of the 
latter to Megara in the period succeed- 
ing the death of Sokrates (p. 268). 

Even if we grant the exclusion of 
Plato's authorship, the hypothesis of an 
author belonging to the Megaric school 
is highly improbable : the rather, since 
many critics suppose (I think erro- 
neously) that the Megarici are among 
those attacked in the dialogue. The 
suspicion that Plato is not the author 

of Sophistfis and Politikus has un- 
doubtedly more appearance of reason 
than the same suspicion as applied to 
other dialogues though I think the 
reasons altogether insufficient. Socher 
observes, justly : 1. That the two dia- 
logues are peculiar, distinguished from 
other Platonic dialogues by the pro- 
fusion of logical classification, in prac- 
tice as well as in theory. 2. That both, 
and especially the Sophistfis, advance 
propositions and conclusions discrepant 
from what we read in other Platonic 
dialogues. But these two reasons are 
not sufficient to make me disallow them. 
1 do not agree with those who require 
so much uniformity, either of matter 
or of manner, in the numerous distinct 
dialogues of Plato. I recognise a much 
wider area of admissible divergence. 

The plain announcement contained 
in the ThesetStus, Sophistes, and Poli- 
tikus themselves, that the two last are 
intended as sequel to the first, is in my 
mind a proof of sameness of authorship, 
not counterbalanced by Socher's objec- 
tions. Why should a Megaric author 
embody in his two dialogues a false 
pretence and assurance, that they are 
sequel of the Platonic ThesetStus? Why 
should so acute a writer (as Socher 
admits him to be) go out of his way 
to suppress his own personality, ana 
merge his fame in that of Plato? 

I make the same remark on the 
views of Suckow (Form der Plato- 


same interlocutors are partially maintained. Thus Sokrates, 
Theod6rus, and Thesetetus are present in all three : and Theae- 
te'tus makes the responses, not only in the dialogue which bears 
his name, but also in the Sophistes. Both in the Sophiste's ancr 
Politikus, however, Sokrates himself descends from the part of 
principal speaker to that of listener : it is he, indeed, who by his 
question elicits the exposition, but he makes no comment either 
during the progress of it or at the close. In both the dialogues, 
the leading and expository function is confided to a new per- 
sonage introduced by Theodorus : a stranger not named, but 
announced as coming from Elea the friend and companion of 
Parmenides and Zeno. Perhaps (remarks Sokrates) your friend 
may, without your knowledge, be a God under human shape ; 
as Homer tells us that the Gods often go about, in the company 
of virtuous men, to inspect the good and bad behaviour of man- 
kind. Perhaps your friend may be a sort of cross-examining 
God, coming to test and expose our feebleness in argument. No 
(replies Theodorus) that is not his character. He is less given to 

nischen Schrif ten, p. 87, scq , Breslau, premisses. It is noway impossible that 
1855), who admits the Sophistes to be Aristotle might allude to Plato some- 
a genuine work of Plato, but declares times in this vague and general way : 
the Politikus to be spurious ; composed and I think that he has done so in 
by some fraudulent author, who wished other passages of the same treatise (vii. 
to give to his dialogue the false ap- 2, 1324, a. 29 vii. 7, p. 1327, b. 37). 
pearance of being a continuation of the Ueberweg (Aechtheit der Platon. 
Sophiste's: he admits (p. 93) that it Schrift. p. 162, seq.) combats with 
must be a deliberate deceit, if the Poli- much force the views of Suckow. It 
tikus be really the work of a different would be rash to build so much nega- 
author from the Sophiste's ; for identity tive inference upon a loose phrase of 
of authorship is distinctly affirmed in it. Aristotle. That he should have spoken 
Suckow gives two reasons for be- of Plato in this vague manner is much 
lieving that the Politikus is not by more probable, or much less im pro- 
Plato : 1. That the doctrines respect- bable, than the counter-supposition, 
ing government are different from those that the author of a striking and com- 
of the Republic, and the cosmology of prehensive dialogue, such as the Poli- 
the long mytho which it includes dif- tikus, should have committed a fraud 
ferent from the cosmology of the Ti- for the purpose of fastening his com- 
mneus. These are reasons similar to position on Plato, and thus abnegating 
those advanced by Socher, and (in my all fame for himself, 
judgment) insufficient reasons. 2. That The explicit affirmation of the Poli- 
Aristotle, in a passage of the Politica tikus itself ought to be believed, in my 
(iv. 2, p. 1289, b. 5), alludes to an opi- judgment, unless it can be refuted by 
nion, which is found in the Politi- greater negative probabilities than any 
kus, in the following terms : rjSrj pev which Socher and Suckow produce. 
o5i> rts d7re<>7j't'aTo ical riov irporepov I do not here repeat, what I have 
OVTWS, &c. Suckow maintains that endeavoured to justify in an earlier 
Aristotle could never have alluded to chapter of this work, the confidence 
Plato in these terms, and that he must which I feel in the canon of Thrasyllus : 
have believed the Politikus to be com- a confidence which it requires stronger 
posed by some one else. But I think arguments than those of these two 
this inference is not justified by the critics to overthrow. 


dispute than his companions. He is far from being a God, 
but he is a divine man : for I call all true philosophers 
divine. 1 

This Eleate performs the whole task of exposition, by putting 
questions to Thesete'tus, in the Sophistes to the younger So- 
krates in the Politikus. Since the true Sokrates is merely 
listener in both dialogues, Plato provides for him an additional 
thread of connection with both ; by remarking that the youthful 
Sokrates is his namesake, and that Theastetus resembles him in 
flat nose and physiognomy. 2 

Though Plato himself plainly designates the Sophists as an 
intended sequel to the Theastetus, yet the method of Relation of 
the two is altogether different, and in a certain sense J^ue'Jtotlfe 
even opposite. In the Thecete'tus, Sokrates extracts Theastatus. 
answers from the full and pregnant mind of that youthful re- 
spondent : he himself professes to teach nothing, but only to 
canvass every successive hypothesis elicited from his companion. 
But the Eleate is presented to us in the most imposing terms, as 
a thoroughly accomplished philosopher : coming with doctrines 
established in his mind, 3 and already practised in the task of ex- 
position which Sokrates entreats him to undertake. He is, from 
beginning to end, affirmative and dogmatical : and if he declines 
to proceed by continuous lecture, this is only because he is some- 
what ashamed to appropriate all the talk to himself. 4 He there- 
fore prefers to accept Thesete'tus as respondent. But Thesetetus 
is no longer pregnant, as in the preceding dialogue. He can do 
no more than give answers signifying assent and dissent, which 
merely serve to break and diversify the exposition. In fact, the 
dialogue in the Sophistes and Politikus is assimilated by Plato 
himself, 5 not to that in the Theset^tus, but to that in the last 
half of the Parmenides ; wherein Aristotele's the respondent 
answers little more than Ay or No, to leading questions from the 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 216 B-C. which he is only present as a listener 

* Plato, Politik. p. 257 E. not to the first half, in which he 
s Plato, Sophist, p. 217 B. enel takes an active part. Compare the 

tcuo}KoVeu ye ^an.v iKavws ical ov/e Pannenid8, p. 137 C. In this last- mentioned dialogue, Sokrates (then a 

* Plato, Sophist, pp. 216-217. youth) and Aristotelfis are the parallel 
Plato, Sophist, p. 217 C. The of Theeetgtus and the younger Sokrates 

words of Sokrates show that he alludes in the Sophist& and Politikus. (See 
to the last half of the ParmenidSs, in p. 135 D.) 


In noticing the circumlocutory character, and multiplied nega- 
Plato de- tive criticism, of the Theaetetus, without any ultimate 
hul'first^pur- P 1 " ^ realised in the form of positive result I re- 
pose is to marked, that Plato appreciated dialogues, not merely 
administer . ' , V 

a lesson in as the road to a conclusion, but for the mental disci- 

tho^ the pline an( l suggestive influence of the tentative and 

special ques- verifying process. It was his purpose to create in his 
tion chosen, , <701 ,. .. -. -, i -. 

being su- hearers a disposition to prosecute philosophical re- 

to that** 6 search of their own, and at the same time to strengthen 
purpose. their ability of doing so with effect. This remark is 
confirmed by the two dialogues now before us, wherein Plato 
defends himself against reproaches seemingly made to him at the 
time. 1 " To what does all this tend ? Why do you stray so 
widely from your professed topic 1 Could you not have reached 
this point by a shorter road ? " He replies by distinctly pro- 
claiming That the process, with its improving influence on the 
mind, stands first in his thoughts the direct conclusion of the 
enquiry, only second : That the special topic which he discusses, 
though in itself important, is nevertheless chosen principally 
with a view to its effect in communicating general method and 
dialectic aptitude : just as a schoolmaster, when he gives out to 
his pupils a word to be spelt, looks mainly, not to their exactness 
in spelling that particular word, but to their command of good 
spelling generally. 2 To form inquisitive, testing minds, fond of 
philosophical debate as a pursuit, and looking at opinions on the 
negative as well as on the positive side, is the first object in most 
of Plato's dialogues : to teach positive truth, is only a secondary 

Both the Sophistes and the Politikus are lessons and specimens 
Method of of that process which the logical manuals recognise 
iSS^and 1 " under the names Definition and Division. What is 
Division. a Sophist? What is a politician or statesman? What 
is a philosopher ? In the first place Are the three really dis- 

1 Plato, Politikus, pp. 283 B, 286- TOV trepi iravra. 

287. Again, p. 286 D. TO re a$ trpbs TTJI/ 

2 Plato, Politikus, p. 285 D. TOV 7rpo/3A7)0e'vTOS ^VJTTJO-IV, cos CLV pcfoTa 
B t v, Tt 8' a5; vvv i)/uui> ij ire pi TOV *cal Ta^iora evpot/nev, Sevrepov dAA' ov 

iro\iTiKOV (JiJTTfen? epeica avTOv TOVTOV irptarov 6 A6"yos ayatnjtV Trapayye'AAei, 

irpo/3e' \>}Tat ftaAAoi/ TJ TOV irepl rravra woAv Se /naAiaTa Kai wpurov ri)v /ne'0oSo/ 

o'laAeKTitccoTcpotS yCyvc<rQa.t ; avTrjv Ti/xai>, TOV KIT* elSr) Bvvarbv elvau 

NCOS 2 to K p. Kal TOVTO SrjAov OTt fitaipetf, &C. 


tinct characters ? for this may seein doubtful : since tlie true 
philosopher, in his visits of inspection from city to city, is con- 
stantly misconceived by an ignorant public, and confounded with 
the other two. 1 The Eleate replies that the three are distinct. 
Then what is the characteristic function of each? How is he 
distinguished from other persons or other things? To what class 
or classes does each belong : and what is the specific character 
belonging to the class, so as to mark its place in the scheme 
descending by successive logical subdivision from the highest 
genus down to particulars 1 What other professions or occupa- 
tions are there analogous to those of Sophist and Statesman, so 
as to afford an illustrative comparison 1 What is there in like 
manner capable of serving as illustrative contrast ? 

Such are the problems which it is the direct purpose of the 
two dialogues before us to solve. But a large proper- yo^^g 
tion of both is occupied by matters bearing only triew the 
indirectly upon the solution. The process of logical SFthh? l 
subdivision, or the formation of classes in subordina- S^t^upon 

tion to each other, can be exhibited just as plainly in a vulgar 
..., -,. /., /> 7 , subject. 

application to an ordinary craft or profession, as to TO End the 

one of grave importance. The Eleate Stranger even ^fd^eSuc- 6 
affirms that the former case will be simpler, and will tion of the 
serve as explanatory introduction to the latter. 2 He Buporior 

therefore selects the craft of an angler, for which to classes 

. above mm. 

find a place in logical classification. Does not an Bisecting 

angler belong to the general class men of art or msion< 
craft? He is not a mere artless, non-professional, private man. 
This being so, we must distribute the class Arts Artists, into 
two subordinate classes : Artists who construct or put together 
some new substance or compound Artists who construct nothing 
new, but are employed in getting, or keeping, or employing, sub- 
stances already made. Thus the class Artists is bisected into 
Constructive Acquisitive. The angler constructs nothing : he 
belongs to the acquisitive branch. We now bisect this latter 
branch. Acquirers either obtain by consent, or appropriate 
without consent. Now the angler is one of the last-mentioned 
class : which is again bisected into two sub-classes, according as 

i Plato, Sophist, p. 216 B. Plato, Sophist, p. 218 E. 


the appropriation is by force or stratagem Fighters and Hun- 
ters. The angler is a hunter : but many other persons are 
hunters also, from whom he must be distinguished. Hunters are 
therefore divided into, Those who hunt inanimate things (such 
as divers for sponges, &c.), and Those who hunt living things or 
animals, including of course the angler among them. The 
hunters of animals are distinguished into hunters of walking 
animals, and hunters of swimming animals. Of the swimming 
animals some are in air, others in water : l hence we get two classes, 
Bird-Hunters and Fish-Hunters ; to the last of whom the angler 
belongs. The fish-hunters (or fishermen) again are bisected into 
two classes, according as they employ nets, or striking instru- 
ments of one kind or another, such as tridents, &c. Of the 
striking fishermen there are two sorts : those who do their work 
at night by torch-light, and those who work by day. All these 
day-fishermen, including among them the angler, use instruments 
with hooks at the end. But we must still make one bisection 
more. Some of them employ tridents, with which they strike 
from above downwards at the fishes, upon any part of the body 
which may present itself: others use hooks, rods, and lines, 
which they contrive to attach to the jaws of the fish, and thereby 
draw him from below upward. 2 This is the special characteristic 
of the angler. We have now a class comprehending the anglers 
alone, so that no farther sub-division is required. We have 
obtained not merely the name of the angler, but also the rational 
explanation of the function to which the name is attached. 3 

This is the first specimen which Plato gives of a systematic 
Such a classification descending, by successive steps of bifur- 
lessonin cation, through many subordinations of genera and 
classifies- species, each founded on a real and proclaimed dis- 
aiThattime ^inction an( l ending at last in an infima species. He 
both novel repeats the like process in regard to the Sophist, the 
live. n No 1C Statesman, and other professions to which he corn- 
logical pares the one or the other : but it will suffice to have 

i Plato, Sophist p. 220 B. Nv- 2 Plato, Sophist, pp. 219-221. 
* ** ^ *^ V 6P * / ""' 

It deserves notice that Plato here * rf* 

* - a fluid to which pt avro Tovp " 


given one specimen of his method. If we transport manuals 
ourselves back to his time, I think that such a view isted. 
of the principles of classification implies a new and valuable turn 
of thought. There existed then no treatises on logic ; no idea of 
logic as a scheme of mental procedure ; no sciences out of which 
it was possible to abstract the conception of a regular method 
more or less diversified. On no subject was there any mass 
of facts or details collected, large enough to demand some 
regular system for the purpose of arranging and rendering them 
intelligible. Classification to a certain extent is of necessity 
involved, consciously or unconsciously, in the use of general 
terms. But the process itself had never been made a subject of 
distinct consciousness or reflection to any one (as far as our 
knowledge reaches), in the time of Plato. No one had yet 
looked at it as a process natural indeed to the human intellect, 
up to a certain point and in a loose manner, but capable both 
of great extension and great improvement, and requiring especial 
study, with an end deliberately set before the mind, in order 
that it might be employed with advantage to regularise and 
render intelligible even common and well-known facts. To 
determine a series of descending classes, with class-names, each 
connoting some assignable characteristic to distribute the whole 
of each class between two correlative sub- classes, to compare the 
different ways in which this could be done, and to select such 
membra condividentia as were most suitable for the purpose this 
was in the time of Plato an important novelty. We know from 
Xenophon 1 that Sokrates considered Dialectic to be founded, 
both etymologically and really, upon the distribution of par- 
ticular things into genera or classes. But we find little or no 
intentional illustration of this process in any of the conversations 
of the Xenophontic Sokrates : and we are farther struck by the 
fact that Plato, in the two dialogues which we are here con- 
sidering, assigns all the remarks on the process of classification, 
not to Sokrates himself, but to the nameless Eleatic Stranger. 

After giving the generic deduction of the angler from the com- 
prehensive idea of Art, distributed into two sections, piato de- 
constructive and acquisitive, Plato proceeds to notice **tt> the 

i Xenoph. Memor. iv. 5, 12. 


Sophist as the analogy between the Sophist and an angler : after 

analogous! ,.1111 ,1 n i , i c -i 

to an angler, which he deduces the Sophist also from the acquisi- 

the sophist ^ ve sec ti n f Art. The Sophist is an angler for rich 

by descend- young men. 1 To find his place in the preceding 

ing sub- iv 4. 4. i i f 

division descending series, we must take our departure from 

acouisitfve ^ e bi sec ti n hunters of walking animals, hunters of 
genus of art. swimming animals. The Sophist is a hunter of walk- 
ing animals : which may be divided into two classes, wild and 
tame. The Sophist hunts a species of tame animals men. 
Hunters of tame animals are bisected into such as hunt by 
violent means (robbers, enslavers, despots, &c.), 2 and such as hunt 
by persuasive means. Of the hunters by means of persuasion 
there are two kinds : those who hunt the public, and those who 
hunt individuals. The latter again may be divided into twa 
classes : those who hunt to their own loss, by means of presents, 
such as lovers, &c., and those who hunt with a view to their own 
profit. To this latter class belongs the Sophist : pretending ta 
associate with others for the sake of virtue, but really looking to 
his own profit. 3 

Again, we may find the Sophist by descending through a 
Th s h* t different string of subordinate classes from the genus 
traced down Acquisitive Art. The professors of this latter may 
same, by a ^ e bisected into two sorts hunters and exchangers, 
different* Exchangers are of two sorts givers and sellers, 
descending Sellers again sell either their own productions, or the 
subdivision. pr0( i uctions O f others. Those who sell the produc- 
tions of others are either fixed residents in one city, or hawkers 
travelling about from city to city. Hawkers again carry about 
for sale either merchandise for the body, or merchandise for the 
mind, such as music, poetry, painting, exhibitions of jugglery, 
learning, and intellectual accomplishments, and so forth. These 
latter (hawkers for the mind) may be divided into two sorts : 

i Plato, Sophist, p. 222 A. 823-824, and Euthyd. p. 290 B). He 

s Plato, Sophist, p. 222 C. includes both o-rpa.^^ and 4>0eipi<r- 

It illustrates the sentiment of Plato's TIKTJ as varieties of flijpevTwoj, Sophist, 

age respecting classification, when we p. 227 B. 

see the great diversity of particulars Compare also the interesting con- 

which he himself, here as well as else- versation about 0ypa dvflpwjrwi/ between 

where, ranks under the general name Sokrates and Theodora, Xenophon, 

drjpa, hunting Ori pa yap ira/uroAv rt Memorab. iii. 11, 7 ; and between So- 

trpayiLa lorn, rrcpwhrinnevov bvo^ari krates and Kritobulus, ii. 6, 29. 
vvv <rx<fov tvi (Plato, Legg. viii. 822- s Plato, Sophist, p. 223 A. 


those who go about teaching, for money, arts and literary accom- 
plishments and those who go about teaching virtue for money. 
They who go about teaching virtue for money are the Sophists. 1 
Or indeed if they sell virtue and knowledge for money, they are 
not the less Sophists whether they buy what they sell from 
others, or prepare it for themselves whether they remain in one 
city or become itinerant. 

A third series of subordinate classes will also bring us down 
from the genus Acquisitive Art down to the infima Also, by a 
species Sophist. In determining the class-place of fchird - 
the angler, we recognised a bisection of acquisitive art into 
acquirers by exchange, or mutual consent and . acquirers by 
appropriation, or without consent. 2 These latter we divided 
according as they employed either force or stratagem : contenders 
and hunters. We then proceeded to bisect the class hunters, 
leaving the contenders without farther notice. Now let us take 
up the class contenders. It may be divided into two : compe- 
titors for a set prize (pecuniary or honorary), and fighters. The 
fighters go to work either body against body, violently or 
tongue against tongue, as arguers. These argue rs again fall into 
two classes : the pleaders, who make long speeches, about just or 
unjust, before the public assembly and dikastery : and the dia- 
logists, who meet each other in short question and answer. The 
dialogists again are divided into two : the private, untrained 
antagonists, quarrelling with each other about the particular 
affairs of life (who form a species by themselves, since charac- 
teristic attributes may be assigned to them ; though these attri- 
butes are too petty and too indefinite to have ever received a 
name in common language, or to deserve a name from us 3 ) and 
the trained practitioners or wranglers, who dispute not about 
particular incidents, but about just and unjust in general, and 

i Plato, Sophist, p. 224 B. rvxelv f toi/. 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 219 E. , e , tt c T V 

' r * yap \i(Lv KOU 

3 Plato, Sophist, p. 225 C. These words illustrate Plato's view 

SeVos. Tou 6e di/TtAoyticov, TO p&v of an etAos or species. Any diHtinguish- 

ocrov Trepl ra vju,/3oAcua <i/u.$t(r/3i7TetTcu able attributes, however petty, and 

/neV, el*?) 8e *cai are^i/ais irepi ayro however multifarious, might be taken 

irpaTTerat, ravra ere OP fiev elSos, to form a species upon; but if they 

^TrctVep avrb SieyvuHcev d> eVepov ov b were petty and multifarious, there was 

Aoyos- araf> ^rrwi/u/iitas ov0* vrrb rwv no advantage in bestowing a specific 

ju.irpo<r0ey -rvxev, OVT vvv v<f>* ^/LIUJV name. 



other general matters. 1 Of wranglers again tliere are two sorts : 
the prosers, who follow the pursuit from spontaneous taste 
and attachment, not only without hope of gain, but to the 
detriment of their private affairs, incurring loss themselves, 
and wearying or bothering their hearers : and those who make 
money by such private dialogues. This last sort of wrangler is 
the Sophist. 2 

There is yet another road of class-distribution which will bring 
The Sophist us down ^ tne Sophist. A great number of common. 

is traced arts (carding wool, straining through a sieve, &c.) have, 
down, from v ,, , ' ., , . , , 

the genus of in common, the general attribute of separating matters 

or P discii" g confounded in a heap. Of separation there are two 
urinating sorts : you may separate like from like (this has no 
established name) or better from worse, which is 
called purification. Purification is of tw6 sorts : either of body 
or of mind. In regard to body, the purifying agents arc very 
multifarious, comprising not only men and animals, but also 
inanimate tilings : and thus including many varieties which in 
common estimation are mean, trivial, repulsive, or ludicrous. 
But all these various sentiments (observes Plato) we must disre- 
gard. We must follow out a real analogy wherever it leads us, 
and recognise a logical affinity wherever we find one ; whether 
the circumstances brought together be vile or venerable, or some 
of them vile and some venerable, in the eyes of mankind. Our 
sole purpose is to improve our intelligence. With that view, all 
particulars are of equal value in our eyes, provided only they 
exhibit that real likeness which legitimates them as members of 
the same class purifiers of body : the correlate of that other- 
class which we now proceed to study purifiers of mind. 3 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 225 C. TO Se ye p to |u e i> 17, T i /u. <j TT p b ? TOVTO e 
&VTCXVOV, Kal Trepl St/catoov avraiv itrov Tratra?, KCU Odrepa. r<av ereptov 
jeal aSuca)!/ /cat Trepl ru>i> aAAwi' oAoos K.O.TO. TT\V OjUOtOTTjra ovSev r/yeiTat yeAoto- 
a.u.<f>t.<rlBr)TOVV, ap* OVK epicm/cov a$ Aeyeip repa, <r e (JLV 6 r e p o v 8 e TI rbv Sta 
ei0tcr/iie0a ; <rTpaTrj/x,tKrJ5>}<^^etpiorTtKTjs 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 225 E. S^AoDrra tf rjpevTiic^ 0^8^ 
x *,i.v, ^p v vei/OfjiiKev, aAA a>s TO TroAv yav- 

3 Plato, Sophist, pp. 220-227. 227 A : v 6 T e p o i/ x Kal STJ al vvv, oirep ypov, 

Tff TWV \6ywv fjit-QoSw criroyyi<TTi,KT)<; TJ </>ap- TI 7rpoo"epouju,ev ovo/j-a . , 

/xaK07TO(Tca? oi>8ev TJTTOV ov8e n /aaAAoi' 6(rat crw/xa etre e/x.i^v^ot' eire ai^u^ov 

Tvyxdvei. jue'Aoi/, ei TO /xei/ ovtiKpd, TO 6e ecA^xacrt KaOaCpeiv, ovSev avrrj Siouret, 

/neyaAa r// ax^eAet KaOaipov. T o v iroiov TI \^\Q\v evirpeTrecrTa.TOV etvai 

KTrjcracrOat, yap eVe/cev v o v v Sd^ei /adj/ov e^e'Taj ^wpls rStv 

ira<r(>)VT<>xv(avTb t-vyyeves Kal TTJS ^^X^S Kaddpcreoiv trdvTa gvvSvjcrav 

TO /U.TJ vyyeves K CLT av o elv iret- oora dAAo Tt Ka.6a.ipei. To maintain the 


This precept (repeated by Plato also in the Politikus) respect- 
ing the principles of classification, deserves notice. It In a i og j ca i 

protests against, and seeks to modify, one of the ordi- clossiflca- 
. , . . , tion, low 

nary turns in the associating principles 01 the human and vulgar 

mind. With unreflecting men, classification is often ^"e as 6 " 

emotional rather than intellectual. The groups of muchatten- 

i , , i , ,1 - t i -i -i tlon as 

objects thrown together in such minus, and conceived grand ones. 

in immediate association, are such as suggest the same Fj^* !" 

' oo cween eino- 

or kindred emotions : pleasure or pain, love or hatred, tional and 
i e -i - A. T A. i scientific 

hope or fear, admiration, contempt, disgust, jealousy, classiflca- 

ridicule. Community of emotion is a stronger bond tions ' 
of association between different objects, than community in any 
attribute not immediately interesting to the emotions, and ap- 
preciable only intellectually. Thus objects which have nothing 
else in common, except appeal to the same earnest emotion, will 
often be called by the same general name, and will be constituted 
members of the same class. To attend to attributes in any other 
point of view than in reference to the amount and kind of emo- 
tion which they excite, is a process uncongenial to ordinary taste: 
moreover, if any one brings together, in the same wording, 
objects really similar, but exciting opposite and contradictory 
emotions, he usually provokes either disgust or ridicule. All 
generalizations, and all general terms connoting them, arc results 
brought together by association and comparison of particulars 
somehow resembling. But if we look at the process of associa- 
tion in an unreflecting person, the resemblances which it fastens 
upon will be often emotional, not intellectual : and the gene- 
ralizations founded upon such resemblances will be emotional 

It is against this natural propensity that Plato here enters his 
protest, in the name of intellect and science. For the purpose of 
obtaining a classification founded on real, intrinsic affinities, we 

equal scientific position of o-Tparnyiicy himself to admit that there exist etfirj 

and (frOeipLo-TLKri, as two different species or Forms of vulgar and repulsive ob- 

under the genus OrjpevriK-jj, is a strong jects, such as 0pl and TnnAos. Ne'os 

illustration. yap el ett, al OUTTW <rov apreiAifirrat 

Compare also Plato, Politikus, p. <iAo<ro$ta a>s en OLVTI ATji/feTcu KO.T' fyujp 

266 D. 56ai/, ore ovSev avrtav art/u-atrei? vvv 

A similar admonition is addressed 8' en, Trpb? avOpuiT<av an-o/SAeVeis fi<$a$ 

(in the Parmenide*s, p. 130 D) by the Bio. T^V * \tKtav. 

old Pannenides to the youthful 80- See above, ch. xxvii. p. 60, in my 

krates, when the latter cannot bring review of the Pannenide*s. 




must exclude all reference to the emotions: we must take no 
account whether a thing be pleasing or hateful, sublime or mean : l 
we must bring ourselves to rank objects useful or grand in the 
same logical compartment with objects hurtful or ludicrous. We 
must examine only whether the resemblance is true and real, 
justifying itself to the comparing intellect : and whether the 
class-term chosen be such as to comprise all these resemblances, 
holding them apart (povov *x* Ta> x^P*-*) fr' ( > m the correlative and 
opposing class. 2 

i Compare Politikus, p. 266 D ; Par- 
menitlds, p. 130 E. 

We see that Plato has thus both an- 
ticipated and replied to the objection 
of Socher (Ueber Platon's Schriften, 
pp. 260-202), who is displeased with 
the minuteness of this classification, 
and with the vulgar objects to which 
it is applied. Socher contends that 
this is unworthy of Plato, and that it 
was peculiar to the subtle Megaric 

I think, on the contrary, that the 
purpose of illustrating the process of 
classification was not unworthy of 
Plato ; that it was not unnatural to 
do this by allusion to vulgar trades or 
handicraft, at a time when no scientific 
survey of physical facts had been 
attempted ; that the allusion to such 
vulgar trades is quite in the manner 
of Plato, and of Sokrates before him. 

Stallbaum, in his elaborate Prolego- 
mena both to the SophistSs and to 
the Politikus, rejects the conclusion of 
Socher, and maintains that both dia- 
logues are the work of Plato. Yet he 
agrees to a certain extent in Socher's 
premisses. ITo thinks that minuteness 
and over -refinement in classification 
were peculiarities of the Megaric phi- 
losophers, and that Plato intentionally 
pushes the classification into an ex- 
treme subtlety and minuteness, in order 
to parody their proceedings and turn 
them into ridicule. (Proleg . ad Sophist. 
pp. 32-36, ad Politic, pp. 54-55.) 

But how do Socher and Stallbanm 
know that this extreme minuteness of 
subdivision into classes WHS a charac- 
teristic of the Mogunc philosophers? 
Neither of them produce any proof of 
it. Indeed Stallbaum himself says, 
most truly (Proleg. ad Politic, p. .05), 
" Quae de Megaricorum arte dialectic^ 
accepinms sanequamsuntpaucissima", 
He might have added, that the little 
which we do hear about their dialectic, 

is rather adverse to this supposed 
minuteness of positive classification, 
than consonant with it. What we hear 
is, that they were extremely acute and 
subtle in contentious disputations 
able assailants of the position of a 
logical opponent. But this talent has 
nothing to do with minuteness of posi- 
tive classification ; and is even indica- 
tive of a different turn of mind. More- 
over, we hear about Eukleides, the 
chief of the Megaric school, that he 
enlarged the signification of the Sum- 
mum "Genus of Parmenides- the *Ei> 
/cal IIa>. Eukleides called it Uimm, 
Bonum, Simile et Idem Semper, Deus, 
&c. But we do not hear that Eukleides 
acknowledged a series of subordinate 
Genera or Species, expanding by logi- 
cal procession below this primary 
Unnm. As far as we can judge, this 
seems to have been wanting in his phi- 
losophy. Yet it is exactly these subor- 
dinate Genera or Species, which the Pla- 
tonic Sophiste's and Politikus supply in 
abundance, and even excess, conform- 
ably to the precept laid down by 
Plato in the Philebus (p. 14) The 

e . 

words of the Kophist&s (p. 216 J)) rather 
indicate that the Eleatic Stranger is 
declared not, to possess the character 
and attributes of Megyaric disputation. 
2 Though the advice here given by 
Plato about the principles of classifica- 
tion is very judicious, yet he has him- 
self in this same dialogue set an ex- 
ample of repugnance to act upon it. 
(Sophist, p. 231 A-B ) In following 
out his own descending series of parti- 
tions, he finds that the Sophist corre- 
sponds with the great mental purifier 
the person who applies the Elenchus, 
or cross-examining test, to youthful 
minds, so as to clear out that false per- 
suasion of knowledge which is the 
great bar to all improvement. But 
though brought by his own process 
to this point, Plato shrinks from ad- 




After these just remarks on classification generally, the Eleate 
pursues the subdivision of his own theme. To purify Tne pur ifl er 

the mind is to get rid of the evil, and retain or a species 

,, T ,T -i . o , -i. under the 

improve the good. Now evil is of two sorts disease genus dis- 

(in justice, intemperance, cowardice, &c.) and ignor- ^s^^tes 

ance. Disease, which in the body is dealt with by good from 

,, , ,- i i ^ -,! i XT evil - Evi1 

the physician, is in the mind dealt with by the is of two 

judicial tribunal : ignorance (corresponding to ugli- worst'sortis 
ness, awkwardness, disability, in the body, which it Ignorance 
is the business of the gymnastic trainer to correct) itself 1 far g 
falls under the treatment of the teacher or instructor. 1 knowled g e - 
Ignorance again may be distributed into two heads : one, though 
special, being so grave as to counterbalance all the rest, and 
requiring to be set apart by itself that is ignorance accom- 
panied with the false persuasion of knowledge. 2 

To meet this special and gravest case of ignorance, we must 
recognise a special division of the art of instruction or 
education. Exhortation, which is the common mode tion is use- 
of instruction, and which was employed by our fore- this WOTS?* 

fathers universally, is of no avail against this false mode of evil. 

-. , , , , . , , , Ooss-exa- 

persuasion 01 knowledge : which can only be ap- mination, 

preached and cured by the Eleiichus, or philosophical jj]j|j jjjgjj of 

cross-examination. So long as a man believes him- chus, must 
IP x i i A. f -JT i be brought 

sell to be wise, you may lecture lor ever without to bear upon 

making impression upon him: you do no good by thesEm?-* 8 
supplying food when the stomach is sick. But the reign puri- 
examiner, questioning him upon those subjects which 
he professes to know, soon entangles him in contradictions with 
himself, making him feel with shame and humiliation his own 

xnitting it. His dislike towards the 
Sophist will not allow him. " The 
Sophist is indeed" (he says) " very like 
to this grand educator : but so also 
a wolf is very like to a dog the most 
savage of animals to the most gentle. 
We must always be extremely careful 
about these likenesses : the whole 
body of them are most slippery. Still 
we cannot help admitting the Sophist to 
represent this improving process that 
is, the high and true bred Sophist." 

It will be seen that Plato's remark 
here about 6/,o,6r>jTes contradicts what 
he had himself said before (p. 227 B). 

The reluctance to rank dog and wolf 
together, in the same class, is an exact 
specimen of that very mistake which 
he had been just pointing out for cor- 
rection. The scientific resemblance 
between the two animals is very close ; 
but the antithesis of sentiment, felt by 
men towards the one and the other, is 

1 Plato, Sophist, pp. 228-229. 

2 Plat. Soph. p. 229 C. 'Ayi/oia? S' 
oftv p.eya rC /not SOKW a! xaAeTOV a^w- 
pior/uteVoi/ 6p<f/ etfio?, iraeri TO 15 aAA.ot 
avrjs dvri<rra.Bfjiov /u,e'pe<rt . . . To /u,f) 
KareiSdra TI, SoKetv eidevat. 




real ignorance. After having been thus disabused a painful 
but indispensable process, not to be accomplished except by the 
Elenchus his mind becomes open and teachable, so that positive 
instruction may be communicated to him with profit. The 
Elenchus is the grand and sovereign purification : whoever has 
not been subjected to it, were he even the Great King, is impure, 
unschooled, and incompetent for genuine happiness. 1 

This cross-examining and disabusing process, brought to bear 

upon the false persuasion of knowledge and forming 

tion of this the only antidote to it, is the business of the Sophist 

^work of looked at on its best side. 2 But Plato will not allow 

the Sophist, the Elenchus, the great Sokratic accomplishment and 
looked at on .. , , -, ,, jn ^ , . . , , n -. 

its best side, mission, to be shared by the Sophists : and he finds 

atas he ke(l or ma ^ es a subtle distinction to keep them off. The 
really is, he Sophist (so the Eleate proceeds) is a disputant, and 
whVteSchos teaches all his youthful pupils to dispute about every- 
dis Pi ute thing as if they knew it about religion, astronomy, 
about every philosophy, arts, laws, politics, and everything else. 
painfs~off 10 ^- e teaches them to argue in each department against 
foi^fruS? the men of special science : he creates a belief in the 
minds of others that he really knows all those diffe- 
rent subjects, respecting which he is able to argue and cross- 
examine successfully : he thus both possesses, and imparts to his 
pupils, a seeming knowledge, an imitation and pretence of 
reality. 3 He is a sort of juggler : an imitator who palms off 


1 Plato, Sophist, p. 230 D-E. 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 231 B. -njs Se 
aiSevTiKTjs 6 frept Trjv fjidraiov Sofoero- 
iav tvo/uevos eAe-y^os ev TO> vvv A.6ya> 

' aAA' ^'jati/ eTvat 
eVet yei/i/ata <ro<|H<r- 

Tt ''iPlato, Sophist, pp. 232-233 C, 235 
A. Sokrates tells us in the Platonic 
Apology (p. 23 A) that this was the 
exact effect which his own cross-exa- 
mination produced upon the hearers : 
they supposed him to be wise on those 
topics on which he exposed ignorance 
in others. The Memorabilia of Xeno- 
phon exhibit the same impression as 
made by the conversation of Sokrates, 
even when he talked with artisans on 
their own arts. Sokrates indeed pro- 
fessed not to teach any one and he 
certainly took no fee for teaching. But 

we see plainly that this disclaimer im- 
posed upon no one ; that he did teach, 
though gratuitously ; and that what he 
taught was, the art of cross-examination 
and dispute. We learn this not merely 
from his enemy, Aristophanes, and from 
the proceedings of his oppon ents, Kritias 
and Charikles (Xenoph. Memor. i. 2) v 
but also from his own statement in the 
Platonic Apology (pp. 23 C, 37 E, 39 B), 
and from the language of Plato and 
Xenophon throughout. Plato is here 
puzzled to make out a clear line of 
distinction between the Elenchus of 
Sokrates, and the disputatious argu- 
ments of those Sophists whom he calls 
Eristic a name deserved quite as much 
by Sokrates as by any of them. Plato 
here accuses the Sophists of talking 
upon a great many subjects which they 
did not know, and teaching their pupils. 


upon persons what appears like reality when seen from a 
distance, but what is seen to be not like reality when contem- 
plated closely. 1 

Here however (continues Plato) we are involved in a difficulty. 
How can a thing appear to be what it is not ? How Doubt start- 
can a man who opines or affirms, opine or affirm ^ate^How 
falsely that is, opine or affirm the thing that is not ? can it be 
To admit this, we must assume the thing that is not eitiierto 
(or Non-Ens, Nothing) to have a real existence. Such *}j^ or to 
an assumption involves great and often debated diffi- falsely. 
culties. It has been pronounced by Parmenides altogether 
inadmissible. 2 

We have already seen that Plato discussed this same question 
in the Thesetetua, and that after trying and rejecting many suc- 
cessive hypotheses to show how false supposition, or false affirma- 
tion, might be explained as possible, by a theory involving no 
contradiction, he left the question unsolved. He now resumes 
it at great length. It occupies more than half 3 the dialogue. 
Near the close, but only then, he reverts to the definition of the 

First, the Eleate states the opinion which perplexes him, and 
which he is anxious either to refute or to explain Hepurgueg 
away. (Unfortunately, we have no statement of the the investi- 
opinion, nor of the grounds on which it was held, fjJispr ( S,i em 
from those who actually held it.) Non-Ens, or Noth- j>y ^J?^ g 
ing, is not the name of any existing thing, or of any 
Something. But every one who speaks must speak something : 
therefore if you try to speak of Non-Ens, you are trying to speak 
nothing which is equivalent to not speaking at all. 4 Moreover, 

to do the same. This is exactly what 4 Plato, Sophist, p. 237 E. The 

Sokrates passed his life in doing, and Eleate here recites this opinion, not as 

what he did better than any one on his own but as entertained by others, 

the negative side. and as one which he did not clearly 

1 Plato, Sophist, pp. 235-236. see through: in Republic (v. p. 478 

2 Plato, Sophist, pp. 236 E 237 A. B-C) we find Sokrates advancing a 
iravra. T<xvTa eo-ri pea-To. oTroptas ael similar doctrine as his own. So in the 
tv r<3 irpoo-eev XP^V * a * v ^ v - "O* Kratylus, where this same topic is 
yoLp elirovra X pn t&n ^yetv 77 Sotd&iv brought under discussion (pp. 429 D, 
OKTWS elvai, Kal TOVTO ^dfy^a^vov 430 A), Kratylus is represented as 
fcu>TioAoyi<j JIXTJ vj/execr0ai, ira.vra.rra(ri contending that false propositions were 
vaAen-oV . .* . TeToA/xn/cei/ 6 A.6yos oSros impossible ; that propositions, impro- 
viro04<r0<u TO /U.TJ ov effect ^eOSos yap perly called false, were in reality com- 
OVK av aAAw? eytypero ov. binations of sounds without any mean- 

3 From p. 236 D to p. 264 D. ing, like the strokes on a bell. 


to every Something, you can add something farther : but to Non- 
Ens, or Nothing, you cannot add any thing. (Non-Entis nulla 
sunt prsedicata.) Now Number is something, or included among 
the Entia : you cannot therefore apply number, either singular 
or plural, to Non-Ens : and inasmuch as every thing conceived 
or described must be either one or many, it is impossible either 
to conceive or describe Non-Ens. You cannot spak of it with- 
out falling into a contradiction. l 

When therefore we characterise the Sophist as one who builds 
The Sophist 11 P phantasms for realities who presents to us what 
our 1 delink * s not > as ^eing Hk Q to what is 1 , and as a false substi- 
tion and tute for what is he will ask us what we mean ? If, 
affirming to illustrate our meaning, we point to images of things 
s h eak ^ n m ^ rror8 or clear water, he will pretend to be blind, 
falsely is and will refuse the evidence of sense : he will require 
He P willre 6 -' us to make out a rational theory explaining Non-Ens 

quire us to or Nothing. 2 But when we try to do this, we contra- 
makeouta & J ' . 

rational diet ourselves. A phantasm is that which, not being 

plaiiifng 6X " a true counterpart of reality, is yet so like it as to be 
Non-Ens. mistaken for reality. Quatenus phantasm, it is Ens : 
quatenus reality, it 'is Non-Ens : thus the same thing is both Ens, 
and Non-Ens : which we declared before to be impossible. 3 
When therefore we accuse the Sophist of passing off phantasms 
for realities, we suppose falsely : we suppose matters not existing, 
or contrary to those which exist : we suppose the existent not to 
exist, or the non-existent to exist. But this assumes as done 
what cannot be done : since we have admitted more than once 
that Non-Ens can neither be described in language by itself, nor 
joined on in any manner to Ens. 4 

Stating the case in this manner, we find that to suppose 
falsely, or affirm falsely, is a contradiction. But there is yet 
another possible way out of the difficulty (the Eleate con- 

Let us turn for a moment (he says) from Non-Ens to Ens. 

1 Plato, Sophist, pp. 238-239, 3 Plato, Sophist, p. 240 B. 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 239-240. 4 ri 4- c , t- OAI TJ - 
ycXdnraC <rov r&v Myuv, ora V 0,5 v * Plato Sophist, p. 241 B. r v yap 

' ovr TO " P W* A ' 


otre /troTrrpa ovre vfiara 
ot5re TO TraaVai/ fytv TO 


The various physical philosophers tell us a good deal The Eleate 
about Ens. They differ greatly among themselves, turns from 
Some philosophers represent Ens as triple, compris- Ens." Theo- 
ing three distinct elements, sometimes in harmony, Jious^h?" 
sometimes at variance with each other. Others tell losophers 
us that it is double wet and dry or hot and cold. about Ens * 
A third sect, especially Xenophanes and Parmenides, pronounce 
it to be essentially One. Herakleitus blends together the diffe- 
rent theories, affirming that Ens is both many and one, always 
in process of disjunction and conjunction : Empedokles adopts a 
similar view, only dropping the always, and declaring the process 
of disjunction to alternate with that of conjunction, so that Ens 
is sometimes Many, sometimes One. 1 

Now when I look at these various theories (continues the 

Eleate), I find that I do not follow or understand 

,, i xl , T i AI 1^1^. Difficulties 

them ; and that I know nothing more or better about about Ens 

Ens than about Non-Ens. I thought, as a young ^hosl^ 
man, that I understood both : but I now find that I about 
understand neither. 2 The difficulties about Ens are 
just as great as those about Non-Ens. What do these philoso- 
phers mean by saying that Ens is double or triple ? that there 
are two distinct existing elements Hot and Cold or three ? 
What do you mean by saying that Hot and Cold exist ? Is 
existence any thing distinct from Hot and Cold 1 If so, then 
there are three elements in all, not two. Do you mean that 
existence is something belonging to both and affirmed of both ? 
Then you pronounce both to be One : and Ens, instead of being 
double, will be at the bottom only One. 

Such are the questions which the Eleatic spokesman of Plato 
puts to those philosophers who affirm Ens to be W i ie t ner 

plural : He turns next to those who affirm Ens to be Ens is Many 

i TT TA 0.1 j. TT or One? If 

singular, or Unurn. Do you mean that Unum is Many, how 

identical with Ens and are they only two names for j^Jties 1 ^" 

the same One and only thing 1 There cannot be two about One 

distinct names belonging to one and the same thing : whole? 

and yet, if this be not so, one of the names must be Jj^J^Jg 

the name of nothing. At any rate, if there be only cannot solve 
one name and one thing, still the name itself is em ' 

i Plato, Sophist, p. 242 D-E. Plato, Sophist, p. 243 B. 


different from the tiling so that duality must still be recog- 
nised. Or if you take the name as identical with the One 
thing, it will either be the name of nothing, or the name of a 
name. 1 

Again, as to the Whole : is the Whole the same with the Ens 
Unum, or different from it. We shall be told that it is the 
same : but according to the description given by Parmenides, 
the whole is spherical, thus having a centre and circumference, 
and of course having parts. Now a whole divisible into parts 
may have unity predicable of it, as an affection or accident in 
respect to the sum of its parts : but it cannot be the genuine, 
essential, self-existent, One, which does not admit of parts or 
division. If Ens be One by accident, it is not identical with 
One, and we thus have two existent things : and if Ens be not 
really and essentially the Whole, while nevertheless the Whole 
exists Ens must fall short of or be less than itself, and must to 
this extent be Non-Ens : besides that Ens, and Totum, being by 
nature distinct, we have more things than One existing. On the 
other hand, if we assume Totum not to be Ens, the same result 
will ensue. Ens will still be something less than itself ; Ens 
can never have any quantity, for each quantum is necessarily a 
whole in itself and Ens can never be generated, since everything 
generated is also necessarily a whole. 2 

Such is the examination which the Eleate bestows on the 
Theories of theories of those philosophers who held one, two, or 
those who a definite number of self-existent Entia or elements, 
recognise His purpose is to show, that even on their schemes, 
nmnber'of -^ ns ^ J us ^ as unintelligible, and involves as many 
Entia or contradictions, as Non-Ens. And to complete the 
Two classes same demonstration, he proceeds to dissect the theo- 
thereof. r | es o f those who do not recognise any definite or 
specific number of elements or Entia. 3 Of these he distinguishes 
two classes ; in direct and strenuous opposition to each other r 
respecting what constituted Essentia. 4 

First, the Materialist Philosophers, who recognise nothing 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 244 D. 4 Plato, Sophist, p. 246 A. 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 246 A-C. T TO ~ L * olo v , 
jriai/v, ovpinow. y. **u M. v/. fa r ^ v ^^torT 

* Plato, Sophist, p. 245 E. irpby oAAifAovc. 


as existing except wliat is tangible ; defining Essence i. The Ma- 
as identical with Body, and denying all incorporeal pj-jj^. 
essence. Plato mentions no names : but he means phers. ^ 2. 
(according to some commentators) Lcukippus and O f Formic/ 
Demokritus perhaps Aristippus also. Secondly, J^ 1 *^' 
other philosophers who, diametrically opposed to the nise such 
Materialists, affirmed that there were 110 real Entia thewaly 8 
except certain Forms, Ideas, genera or species, incor- real Entia. 
poreal and conceivable only by intellect : that true and real 
essence was not to be found in those bodies wherein the Materia- 
lists sought it : that bodies were in constant generation and dis- 
appearance, affording nothing more than a transitory semblance 
of reality, not tenable l when sifted by reason. By these last are 
understood (so Schleiermacher and others think, though in my 
judgment erroneously) Eukleides and the Megaric school of phi- 

The Eleate proceeds to comment upon the doctrines held by 
these opposing schools of thinkers respecting Essence Argument 
or Reality. It is easier (he says) to deal with the against the 
i A ,- i * ^ ^ r^i ,1 Materialists 

last-mentioned, for they are more gentle. With the Justice 

Materialists it is difficult, and all but impossible, to 

deal at all. Indeed, before we can deal with them, since it may 

j i , -. t* , -i T , , be either 

we must assume them to be lor this occasion better present or 

than they show themselves in reality, and ready to 
answer in a more becoming manner than they actually difference 
do. 2 These Materialists will admit (Plato continues) istiota 
that man exists an animated body, or a compound body - 
of mind and body : they will farther allow that the mind of one 
man differs from that of another : one is just, prudent, &c., 
another is unjust and imprudent. One man is just, through the 
habit and presence of justice : another is unjust, through the 
habit and presence of injustice. But justice must surely be 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 246 B-C. voyra /ixeVwi/ p< ov ^juepwrepot yap irapa Se 
OLTTO. Kal otorcofxaTO, eiSrj /Siat^o/xei'ot rriv T<OV ets crw/xa rcdvra. eA/cdfrwi' /3i'<y, 
<xM)0ii>Tji/ ovcriai> ett>at TO. 5e fKeivuv <rai- x a ^ e7 Te P OI/ ' i0"ws 5e Kai 0"Xe- 
/aara Kail ryv Xeyo/xev-njv VTT' avrwi/ (i. e. 8 b v a 8 v v a. r o v . 'AA.A.' aiSe /*ot So/cet 
the Materialists) aA.^0etav /cara <r/xt/cpa ire pi auTWC 5p<fi/ . ^ . MaAttTTa^eV, 
fiia^pavofTe? ev rots A-oyois, yevearw el TTTJ Svvarbv ^v, epyo> /SeArtov^s 
avr* oucrtas </>epOjU.6i/rjf TLVCL irpotra-yo- auroi/s Troieti/' ei 5e TOVTO JU.TJ eyxwpei, 
pevo v<rt v. Aoya) Trocw/xei/, v TTOTidc/ix-ei'ot v o /a i- 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 246 C. n-apa /j.ev /iwrepoi/ avrovs ^ vvv e$e"b.ovT as 
r&v ev ei6e<ru> avryv (rt)v oixrtav) riOe- av arroKptvacrdai. 


something injustice also must be something if eacli may be 
present to, or absent from, any tiling ; and if their presence or 
absence makes so sensible a difference. 1 And justice or injustice, 
prudence or imprudence, as well as the mind in which the one 
or the other inheres, are neither visible or tangible, nor have 
they any body : they are all invisible. 

Probably (replies Theietetus) these philosophers would contend 
At least ^ na * * ne soll l or mm( l had a body ; but they would be 
many of ashamed either to deny that justice, prudence, &c., 
concede existed as realities or to affirm that justice, pru- 
thoughnot <lence, &c., were all bodies. 2 These philosophers 
all. Ens is must then have become better (rejoins the Eleate) : 
common to . . i -i f ,1 -n 

the corpo- for the primitive and genuine leaders of them will 

incorporeal 6 no ^ conce( ^ e even so much, as that. But let us accept 

Ens is equi- the concession. If they will admit any incorporeal 
valentto ,., ,, , ,, . * 

potentia- reality at all, however small, our case is made out. 

hty. p or we shall next call upon them to say, what there 

is in common between these latter, and those other realities 
which have bodies connate with and essential to tbem to justify 
the names real essence bestowed upon both. 3 Perhaps they 
would accept the following definition of Ens or the Real of 
Essence or Reality. Every thing which possesses any sort 
of power, either to act upon any thing else or to be acted upon 
by any thing else, be it only for once or to the smallest degree 
every such thing is true and real Ens. The characteristic 
mark or definition of Ens or the Real is, power or potentiality. 4 

The Eleate now turns to the philosophers of the opposite 
Argument school the Mentalists or Idealists, whom he terms 
Idealists the friends of Forms, Ideas, or species. 5 These men 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 247 A. 'AAAa re TOVTOIS cijuux ai CTT* e/ceu/ois ocra ex et 
/U.TJ> TO ye SVVOLTOV jy irapayiyve<r6ai cra>|u,a v|U.<ves yeyoi>6>, ets o jSAeVovres 
fcai a7royiyi>e<r0ai, irdvrtas elvaC TI $?)- a/u,j|>6*Tepa elvat, Ae'yovai, TOUTO OVTOIS 
<rov<rtv. ptjTe'oc. 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 247 B. 'ArroxpC- 4 Plato, Sophist, p. 247 D-E. \eya> 
VQVTO.I, , . . rr)V /otev \jjvxrjv avrr)i/ SoKetV 6>j TO icai biroiavovv KtKrrjfjievov 8 v- 
<r<f>i<ri crw/aa TI KeKT-rjo'Qa.i, <}>p6vr)<riv Se v a. ju. i v, ctr' eis TO irotelv erepov 
Kai T&V aAAwi/ eKa<rTOv &v ^pcaTij/ca?, OTIOW TTC^VKOS elr' ets TO iradeiv Ka.1 


TO ToA/u-^v r) fjt.Tf)8ev Ttov <Tfju.Kp6Ta.Tov virb TOV <^>avAoTaTOV, KO.V 

ovTiav avTa 6/u.oAoyetv, TJ no.vr eti/at et ftovov eitraTra^, irav TOVTO OVTOJS etvai 

<rwuaTa Sutrxvpi^eaBai. ^ Tt'06/ yap opov opC^eLv TO. OVTO., <os 

Plato, Sophist, p. 247 C-D. el yap eo-Tiv OVK aAAo Tt 7rAr}i/ S v v a /u, t 5. 

TI /cat o-utKpbv 6<teAovo-i T&V ovrtav avy- ^ 5 Plato, Sophist, p. 248 A. rove rwr 

X^peii/ acrw/xaTOV, e^apxet. TO yap CTTI elSiav (/u'Aovs. 


(he says) distinguish the generated, transitory and whodistin- 
changeable from Ens or the Real, which is eternal, from the 
unchanged, always the same : they distinguish gene- In^say^hat 

ration from essence. With the generated (according we hold . 

... . -, , . x tii . i communion 

to their doctrine) we hold communion through our with the 

bodies and our bodily perceptions : with Ens, we through our 

hold communion through our mind and our intellec- minds, with 
, , , . -n , * . 1 ,-, , the latter, 

tual apprehension. But what do they mean (con- through our 

tinues the Eleate) by this "holding of communion"? senses. and 
Is it not an action or a passion produced by a certain 
power of agent and patient coming into co-operation, with each 
other? and is not this the definition which we just now laid 
down, of Ens or the Real. 

No these philosophers will reply we do not admit your 

definition as a definition of Ens : it applies only to ,,. 

i * <-' Molding 

the generated. Generation does involve, or emanate communion 

' Wh'it ? 

from, a reciprocity of agent and patient : but neither implies 

power nor action, nor suffering, have any application J^^ 1 ^' 

to Ens or the Real. But you admit (says the Eleate) known by 

that the mind knows Ens : and that Ens is known therefore 

by the mind. Now this knowing, is it not an action suffers or 
J J) undergoes 

and is not the being known, a passion? It to change. 

know is an action, then Ens, being known, is acted cimlelfboth 

upon, suffers something, or undergoes some change, t j le un - . 

i-i ni- II - r- -^ f i changeable 

which would be impossible 11 we assume Ens to be and the 

eternally unchanged. These philosophers might re- chan g eable - 
ply, that they do not admit to Jcnow as an action, nor to be known 
as a passion. They affirm Ens to be eternally unchanged, and 
they hold to their other affirmation that Ens is known by the 
mind. But (urges the Eleate) can they really believe that Ens is 
eternally the same and unchanged, that it has neither life, nor 
mind, nor intelligence, nor change, nor movement? This is 
incredible. They must concede that Change, and the Change- 
able, are to be reckoned as Entia or Realities : for if these be not 
so reckoned, and if all Entia are unchangeable, no Ens can be an 
object of knowledge to any mind. But though the changeable 
belongs to Ens, we must not affirm that all Ens is changeable. 
There cannot be either intellect or knowledge, without something 
constant and unchangeable. It is equally necessary to recognise 




Motion and 
Rest are 
both of 
them Entia 
or Realities. 
Both agree 
in Ens. Ens 
is a tertium 
quitl dis- 
tinct from 
both. But 
how can 
anything be 
from both ? 

Here the 
breaks off 
He declares 
his purpose 
to snow, 

puzzle as 

something as constant and unchangeable something else as 
moving and changeable : Ens or reality includes alike one and 
the other. The true philosopher therefore cannot agree with 
those " Friends of Forms " who affirm all Ens or Reality to be at 
rest and unchangeable, either under one form or under many : 
still less can he agree with those opposite reasoncrs, who main- 
tain all reality to be in perpetual change and movement. He 
will acknowledge both and each rest and motion the constant 
and the changeable as making up together total reality or Ens 

Still, however, we have not got over our difficulties. Motion 
anc ^ -^ es ^ are con ^" il 'i es > y e ^ we say that each and 
both are Realities or Entia. In what is it that they 
both agree ? Not in moving, nor in being at rest, but 
s i m pty * n existence or reality. Existence or reality 
therefore must be a tertium quid, apart from motion 
and rest, not the sum total of those two items. Ens 
or the Real is not, in its own proper nature, either 
in motion or at rest, but is distinct from both. Yet 
how can this be ? Surely, whatever is not in motion, 
must be at rest whatever is not at rest, must be in 
motion. How can any thing be neither in motion nor at rest ; 
standing apart from both ? 1 

Here the Eleate breaks off his enquiry, without solving the pro- 
blems which he has accumulated. My purpose was 
(he says 2 ) to show that Ens was just as full of diffi- 
culties and embarrassments as Non-Ens. Enough has 
been said to prove this clearly. When we can once 
get clear of obscurity about Ens, we may hope to be 
That Ens is equally successful with Non-Ens. 

Let us try (he proceeds) another path. We know 
that it is a common practice in our daily speech to 
apply many different predicates to one and the same 
subject. We say of the same man, that he is fair, 
tall, just, brave, &c., and several other epithets. 
Some persons deny our right to do this. They v say 
that the predicate ought always to be identical with 

those who 
admit no 
to be legiti- 
mate, ex- 
cept iden- 

Plato, Sophist, p. 250 C. 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 250 D. 


the subject : that we can only employ with propriety tical How 
such propositions as the following man is man admit of' 
good is good, &c. : that to apply many predicates to Bunion* 1 * 
one and the same subject is to make one thing into wi th each 
many things. 1 But in reply to these opponents, as 
well as to those whom we have before combated, we shall put 
before them three alternatives, of which they must choose one. 
1. Either all Forms admit of intercommunion one with the 
other. 2. Or no Forms admit of such intercommunion. 3. Or 
some Forms do admit of it, and others not. Between these three 
an option must be made. 2 

If we take the first alternative that there is no intercom- 
munion of Forms then the Forms motion and rest 

i . , . . , , , , .. No inter- 

can nave no intercommunion with the r orms, essence communion 

or reality. In other words, neither motion nor rest Satinet 1 Eny 
exist : and thus the theory both of those who say Forma. 

- , ,, ,. . . J , , , , J f Refuted, 

that all things are m perpetual movement, and of Common 

those who say that all things are in perpetual rest, inconsistent 
becomes unfounded and impossible. Besides, these with thia^ 
very men, who deny all intercommunion of Forms, iyp 
are obliged to admit it implicitly and involuntarily in their 
common forms of speech. They cannot carry 011 a conversation 
without it, and they thus serve as a perpetual refutation of their 
own doctrine. 3 

The second alternative that all Forms may enter into com- 
munion with each other is also easily refuted. If 
this were true, motion and rest might be put together : intercom- 
motion would be at rest, and rest would be in motion ^i^onnsf 
which is absurd. These and other forms are con- inadmis- 
trary to each other. They reciprocally exclude and 
repudiate all intercommunion. 4 

Remains only the third alternative that some forms admit of 
intercommunion others not. This is the real truth Some Forms 
(says the Eleate). So it stands in regard to letters f^rcom- 
and words in language : some letters come together in munion, 

-i * ,1 ? ^ .LI i i others not. 

words frequently and conveniently others rarely and This is 

i Plato, Sophist, p. 251 B. <os 2 pi a t o , Sophist, p. 251 E. 
aSvvarov rd re TroAAA $v KCU, TO If iroXAa 3 Plato, Sophist, p. 252 D. 
etj/cu, &C. 4 Plato, Sophist, p. 252 E. 


the only awkwardly others never do nor ever can come 

admissible i mi 

doctrine. together. The same with the combination of sounds 

tetter! and to obtain music. It requires skill and art to deter- 
syllables. mine which of these combinations are admissible. 

So also, hi regard to the intercommunion of Forms, skill and 
Art and ar ^ are re( iuired to decide which of them will come 
skill are together, and which will not. In every special art 

required to n /, . , ., ,, 

distinguish and profession the case is similar : the ignorant man 

admit of w ^ lai * in ( ^ ec i^ m g tuis question the man of special 

intercom- skill alone will succeed. So in regard to the inter- 
munion.and . /> -n />< -n -LI 

what Forms communion or Jborms or Genera universally with 

fs^heV^ 1 - 18 eacn otner ' the comprehensive science of the true 

cialintolii- philosopher is required to decide. 1 To note and 

fffioso- 6 study these Forms, is the purpose of the philosopher 

pher, who j n j-^g dialectics or ratiocinative debate. He can 

bright trace the one Form or Idea, stretching through a 

Ens^the great many separate particulars ; he can distinguish 

Sophist it from all different Forms : he knows which Forms 
lives in the 

darkness of are not merely distinct from each other, but incapable 
Non-Ens. Q a |ij ailce an j reciprocally repulsive which of them 
are capable of complete conjunction, the one circumscribing and 
comprehending the other and which of them admit conjunction 
partial and occasional with each other. 2 The philosopher thus 
keeps close to the Form of eternal and unchangeable Ens or 
Reality a region of such bright light that the eyes of the vulgar 
cannot clearly sec him : while the Sophist on the other hand is 
also difficult to be seen, but for an opposite reason from the 
darkness of that region of Non-Ens or Non-Reality wherein he 
carries on his routine- work. 3 

We have still to determine, however (continues Plato), what 
He comes this Non-Ens or Non- Reality is. For this purpose we 
what^on- wil1 take a survey, not of all the Forms or Genera, 
Ens is. He but of some few the most important. We will begin 
examina- with the two before noticed Motion and Rest 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 253 B. p' ov ye $iA6Vo$os, rrj rov OVTOS act fiiot 
fier' emcrT7jju.i)s TII/OS avayKalov 6ta TMV Aoyioyxan' irpo&Kfifj.evos ic'<f, Sia TO 
Xoyi)V iroptve<r0cu TOV op#u>s /me'AAovTa Xa/ui.7rpbv aS TTJS ^wpa? ovSa/j.u>? evirerrys 
8eien/ TTOia TTOIOIS <rv/u.<J>wi>et TWV yevwv b<}>6f)van. TO. yap TTJS TUJP TroAAcai/ 

Kal Trota a\\ri\a. ov Sex^rat ; 6/u/u.ara /caprepetv npb? rb Oflov d 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 253 D-E. aSiWra. 
8 Plato, Sophist, p. 254 A. 'O 6e 


( SB Change and Permanence), which are confessedly tion five 
irreconcileable and reciprocally exclusive, Ens how- 
ever enters into partnership with both : for both of 
them are, or exist. 1 This makes up three Forms or same 
GeneraMotion, Rest, Ens : each of the three being Differont - 
the same with itself, and different from the other two. Here we 
have pronounced two new words Same Different. 3 Do these 
words designate two other Forms, over and above the three 
before-named, yet necessarily always intermingling in partner- 
ship with those three, so as to make five Forms in all ? Or are 
these two Same and Different essential appendages of the 
three before-named? This last question must be answered in the 
negative. Same and Different are not essential appendages, or 
attached as parts, to Motion, Best, Ens. Same and Different 
may be predicated both of Motion and of Kest : and whatever 
can be predicated alike of two contraries, cannot be an essential 
portion or appendage of either. Neither Motion nor Rest there- 
fore are essentially either Same or Different : though both of 
them partake of Same or Different ?'.e., come into accidental 
co-partnership with one as well as the other. 3 Neither can we 
say that Ens is identical with either Idem or Diversum. Not 
with Idem for we speak of both Motion and Rest as Entia or 
Existences : but we cannot speak of them as the same. Not with 
Diversum for different is a name relative to something else from 
which it is different, but Ens is not thus relative. Motion and 
Rest are or exist, each in itself : but each is different, relatively 
to the other, and to other things generally. Accordingly we 
have here five Forms or Genera Ens, Motion, Rest, Idem, 
Diversum : each distinct from arid independent of all the rest. 4 
This Form of Diversum or Different pervades all the others : 
for each one of them is different from the others, not Form of 
through any thing in its own nature, but because it Diversum 
partakes of the Form of Difference. 5 Each of the five ^11 the G 
is different from others : or, to express the same fact ofcholu 

1 Plato, Sophist, ft. 254 D. TO Se ye 3 Plato, Sophist, p. 255 B. nere\- 
ov fit/crop a/jL^tolv <T T b v yap d/x<^u> rQv /AIJI/ a/i0o> TO.VTOV ical Qarepov . . . 
irov. Mil roCvvv Ae'ya>/j,ej> K.ivn<rLv y el vat. 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 254 E. rC TTOT* ravrbv^ earepov, ,fujfi' ai> <TTa<ru>. 
a$ vvv ovrws elprJKafj.ev r6 re ravrbv * PJato, Sophist, p. 255 D. 
fcaltforepov; ir6repa 8uo yei/ij rive aural, 5 Plato, Sophist, p. 255 E. xal Sia, 
TWI* My TftiStv oAAw, <fec, irtivruv ye avrqv a-vrtav <pr)<rofiev etcou. 



in other words, each of them is not any one of the others. Thus 
motion is different from rest, or is not rest : but nevertheless 
motion is or exists, because it partakes of the Form Ens. 
Again, Motion is different from Idem : it is not the Same : yet 
nevertheless it is the same, because it partakes of the nature of 
Idem, or is the same with itself. Thus then both predications 
are true respecting motion : it is the same : it is not the same, 
because it partakes of or enters into partnership with both Idem 
and Diversum. 1 If motion in any way partook of Rest, we 
should be able to talk of stationary motion : but this is impos- 
sible : for we have already said that some Forms cannot come 
into intercommunion that they absolutely exclude each other, 

Again, Motion is different not only from Rest, and from Idem, 
Motion is but a l so from Diversum itself. In other words, it is 
Diversum in a certain way, and also not Diver- 

sum.or is sum : different and not different. 2 As it is different 

sum. Motion fr m ^ est fr m Idem, fr m Diversum so also it is 

different from Ens, the remaining one of the five 
in other forms or genera. In other words Motion is not Ens, 
Non d Ens. iS or is Non-Ens. It is both Ens, and Non-Ens : Ens, 
these f 80 ^ ar as ** P arta kes of Entity or Reality Non-Ens, 
Forms is so far as it partakes of Difference, and is thus different 

Sd h Non S - from Ens as wel1 as from tlle other Foi s. 3 The same 
Ens - may be said of the other Forms, Rest, Idem, Diver- 

sum : each of them is Ens, because it partakes of entity or 
reality : each of them is also Non-Ens, or different from Ens, 
because it partakes of Difference. Moreover, Ens itself is 
different from the other four, and so far as these others go, it is 
Non-Ens. 4 

Now note the consequence (continues the Eleate). When we 
ByNon- speak of Non-Ens, we do not mean any thing con- 
Ens, we do trary to Ens, but only something different from Ens. 
anything When we call any thing not great, we do not affirm it 

8ieA.TjA.u0i/rai/ (TJJI/ Oarepov (f>v<rtv) v vvv^ STJ \6yov. 

eKouTTOv yap ereppv eti/ai TWV aAAwv, 3 Plato, Sophist, p. 258 D. OVKOVV 

o v 8 i a rrfV avrov <j> v <r tv, dAAa ST) <ra<a>5 ^ Kurorts oi/rco? OVK ov tart Kal 

8ia TO f&erexeiv r}s tSe'as TT}? Oartpov. ov, eimVep TOT) OI/TOS /tx,eTe'x ; 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 266 A. ^v ^ 4 w Plato, Sophist, p. 257 A. K al T b 
Ktvtjaiv 8ij ravr6v r' eti/at Kal JULTJ TauTOV ov ap*, ocra irep eo-Tt TO. dAAa, icaTa 
o/jtoXoyrjT^oi' /cat ov Sv(rxepavreov t &C. ^ TOcravTa OVK tcrriv eiceiva. yap OVK ov $v 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 256 C. ov\ ^ v &VTO co-Tif, antpavTa Sf rov 
Hrepov ap 1 eo"Ti 7177 Kal frepov KctTa'TOv TaAAa OVK eo~Tt.v av. 


to be the contrary of great, or to be little : for it may contrary to 
perhaps be simply equal : we only mean that it is me^Jnly 
different from great. 1 A negative proposition, gene- ^ e e r gj[ g 
rally, does not signify anything contrary to the pre- from Ens. 
dicate, but merely something else distinct or different S~Form 8 , a 
from the predicate. 2 The Form of Different, though ^ vcUas> 
of one and the same general nature throughout, is 
distributed into many separate parts or .specialties, according as 
it is attached to different things. Thus not beautiful is a special 
mode of the general Form or Genus Different, placed in antithesis 
with another Form or Genus, the beautiful. The antithesis is 
that of one Ens or Keal thing against another Ens or Keal thing : 
not beautiful, not great, not just, exist just as much and are quite 
as real, as beautiful, great, just. If the Different be a real Form 
or Genus, all its varieties must be real also. Accordingly Diffe- 
rent from Ens is just as much a real Form as Ens itself : 3 and 
this is what we mean by Non-Ens : not any thing contrary to 

Here then the Eleate professes to have found what Non-Ens 
is : that it is a real substantive Form, numerable 
among the other Forms, and having a separate con- claims to 
stant nature of its own, like not beautiful, not great: 41 p^^i^Sf 
that it is real and existent, just as much as Ens, and to have 
beautiful, great, &c. Disregarding the prohibition of thatTNon- 

Parmenides, we have shown (says he) not only that Ens is a real 

. , , , . . i. f T * orni, and 

Non-Ens exists, but also what it is. Many Jb orms or also what 

Genera enter into partnership or communion with * 1S ' 
each other ; and Non-Ens is the partnership between Ens and 

1 Plato, Sophist. ( p. 257 B. 'Oirorav povov, or*. TWI/ aAAcoi/ rt nyvvet TO fir) 
'/ - 


ov Ae'yu>/x,ej/, ds cotKCP, OVK GVO.V- /cat TO ov Trpondefieva T<av emovrtav 

riov TI Aeyo/u,ei> TOU ovros, dAA.' ertpov bvoiAaTW, jmaAAoi/ Se r<av 

fjiovov . . . Oloi/ orav eitrco/iAcV T t /x TJ irepi arr' ay Kc'ijr 

fj,4ya, TOTS /utaAAoi/ rt trot <fMu.v6fjLtOa.Tb vtrrepov T^S aTro^ao- . 

<TlJ.t,KpbvriTbl(rov8ir)\ovvT<$pnfJLa.Ti.. 3 Plato, Sophist, p. 258 B. ^ TTJS 

Plato^here means to imply that TO Qarepov popiov <fv<rew5 KO.! T^S TOV 

<TfJLLKpbv 18 the real contrary Of TO /u.e'y<x. oi'TO? irpb? aAArjAa avTUteipcvtav avri- 

(in his view) imply the contrary of erepov c. 
/u<fyo. 4 Plato, Sophist, p. 268 B-C. TO ^ 

-Plato, Sophist, p. 257 B. OVK ap' OP /SejSatco? e<TTl TVJV OVTOV (frvo'iv *X OV 

orav a7ro^>a<ris AeyrjTat, <n\- . . . evdp^Ofiov Ttav iro\\Stv ovruv eloos 

-' TO<TOVTOV 8e Zv. 


Diversum. Diversum, in partnership with Ens, is (exists), in 
consequence of such partnership : yet it is not that with which 
it is in partnership, but different therefrom and being thus 
different from Ens, it is clearly and necessarily Non-Ens : while 
Ens also, by virtue of its partnership with Diversum, is different 
from all the other Forms, or is not .any one of them, and to this 
extent therefore Ens is Non-Ens. We drop altogether the idea 
of contrariety, without enquiring whether it be reasonably justi- 
fiable or not : we attach ourselves entirely to the Form Diffe- 

Let those refute this explanation, who can do so (continues the 
T] ^ ,. Eleate), or let them propose a better of their own, if 

now stated they can : if not, let them allow the foregoing as pos- 
one, ye" y sible. 2 Let them not content themselves with multi- 
given, which plying apparent contradictions, by saying that the 

justifies pre- J- > fc> I i .-., 

dicationaaa same may be in some particular respect different, and 
process?* 6 tnat tne different may be in some particular respect 
with a pre- the same, through this or the other accidental attri- 
dicate diffe- . , a . ,, ,, ,. i -i i , . i IT 

rent from bute. a All these sophisms lead but to make us believe 
the subject. pj iat no ()ne ^nng ca n be predicated of any other 
That there is no intercommunion of the distinct Forms one with 
another, no right to predicate of any subject a second name and 
the possession of a new attribute That therefore there can be no 
dialectic debate or philosophy, which is all founded upon such 
intercommunion of Forms. 4 We have shown that Forms do 

1 Plato, Sophist, pp. 258 E 259 A. a dilemma which the Sokrates of the 
Tfjuets yap Trept /aei/ ei/avrtov TIROS' avrtp Thesete'tus, and other dialogues, would 
X<iCp<nv TrciAai Ae'yo/xei/, eiT* !(mi> eir* have declined altogether. The com- 
fxrj \6yov e\ov r) /cat iravTaTraaw aAoyor, plaint here made by the Eleate, against 
&c. . . . disputants who did nothing but pro- 

TO (u,et> erepov /u.eTa<rxb> TOW OVTO? pound difficulties- -is the same as that 

e? a- T . /uey Sia ravTyv T$)V u.eQegiv, ov which the hearers of Sokratea made 

fj.^v eKGivo v oC nerearxev, aAA.' erepov, against him (see Plato, Phil8l)US, p. 2O 

Srepov 8% TOV OJ/TOS ov eo-rt ora^eo-Tara A, where the remark is put into the 

e ai>ay/<Tjs eTi/at /ULT> ov, &c. mouth, not of an opponent, but of a 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 259 A-C. o Se respectful young listener) ; and many 
vvv eipTj/coftev elvai TO JATJ ov, % TrettraToj a reader of the Platonic Parrnenid6a 

ws ov /eaAws Aeyo/nei/ eAcy^as, ^j has indulged in the complaint. 

S Bvvard KOL ^ KaT ' Cet1 ' r)<rt TOUTWI/ ireirovBevai 

The language of the Eleate here is "t> QV ' 

altogether at variance with the spirit 4 piato, Sophist, p. 259 B, E. Sia yap 

of Plato in his negative or Searching -njv aAAjjAwt/ TWV eiouv <ri//u,TrAoKi}j/ 6 

Dialogues. To say, as he does, " Either Aoyos yeyovtv wlv. 252 B: 01 MW 

accept the explanation which I give, ewvres Kowuvia iraBrmaTas CTepou QOLTC- 

or propose a better of your own is pov irpocrayopeveiv. 


really come into conjunction, so as to enable us to conjoin, truly 
and properly, predicate with subject, and to constitute proposi- 
tion and judgment as taking place among the true Forms or 
Genera. Among these true Forms or Genera, Non-Ens is in- 
cluded as one.' 

The Eleate next proceeds to consider, whether these two 
Genera or Forms Proposition, Judgment, Opinion, Enquiry, 
on the one hand, and Non-Ens on the other are ^^f ihe 
among those which may or do enter into partnership Non-Ens 
and conjunction with each other, For we have ad- 
mitted that there are some Forms which cannot come 
into partnership; and the Sophist against whom we Forms of 
are reasoning, though we have driven him to concede opSn? 01 ' 
that Non-Ens is a real Form, may still contend that Judgment. 
it is one of those which cannot come into partnership with Pro- 
position, Judgment, Opinion and he may allege that we can 
neither embody in language, nor in mental judgment, that which 
is not. 2 

Let us look attentively whnt Proposition, Judgment, Opinion, 

are. As we said about Forms and letters, so about . . . , 

, ., . , , . ,. ,. , ' , . , . Analysisofa 

words : it is not every combination of words which is Proposition. 

possible, so as to make xip a significant proposition, potion" 

A string of nouns alone will not make one, nor a must have a 
rti m n i . noun and a 

string of verbs alone. To compose the simplest pro- verb it 

position, you must put together at least one noun and ^sition^f ' 

one verb, in order to sitmify something respecting Something. 

^ . ... ,. *. 4. i i x ^ False propo- 

things existing, or events past, present, and future. 3 sitions in- 

Now every proposition must be a proposition about 
v A x . . 

something, or belonging to a certain subject : every Non-Ens, in 
proposition must also be of a certain quality. 4 Thece- theVarti- 
tetus is sitting down Thecetetus is flying. Here are piar sub- 
two propositions, both belonging to the same subject, 
but with opposite qualities : the former true, the latter false. 
The true proposition affirms respecting Theoetetus real things as 
they are ; the false proposition affirms respecting him things 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 260 A. irpte TO 3 Plato, Sophist, pp. 261-262. 

rbi/ \6yov T/JUUI/ riav ovruv eV rt yevuv 4 Plato, Sophist, p. 262 E. \6yov 

elvoii. 258 B : rb /uwj ov jSe/Satco? lo-ri rrjv avayKalov, OTO.I> Trep $, TIVO? elvat \6yov 

aurov <t>v<riv e^ov. JU.TJ Se TII/OS aSvvarov . . Ou/covc al 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 260 C-D-E. irotov nva. avrav elvai Set ; 


different from real, or non-real, as being real. The attribute of 
flying is just as real in itself as the attribute of sitting: but as 
respects Theaetetus, or as predicated concerning him, it is diffe- 
rent from the reality, or non-real. 1 But still Thesetetus is the 
subject of the proposition, though the predicate flying does not 
really belong to him : for there is no other subject than he, and 
without a subject the proposition would be no proposition at all. 
When therefore different things are affirmed as the same, or non- 
realities as realities, respecting you or any given subject, the 
proposition so affirming is false. 2 

As propositions may be true or false, so also opinion or judg- 
Opinion, ment or conception, may be true or false : for opinion 
F'ulcy^&c' or judgment is only the concluding result of delibera- 
are akin to' tion or reflection and reflection is the silent dialogue 
amPnmy be of the mind with itself : while conception or phantasy 
a o S '"n >y ' t * s ^ e coa ^ CBC(ince or conjunction of opinion with pre- 
partnership sent perception. 3 Both opinion and conception are 
Form Non- akin to proposition. It has thus been shown that 
Ens. f a i se propositions, and false opinions or judgments, 

are perfectly real, and involve no contradiction : and that the 
Form or Genus Proposition, Judgment, Opinion comes pro- 
perly and naturally into partnership with the Form Non-Ens. 

This was the point which Plato's Eleate undertook to prove 
against Parmenides, and against the plea of the Sophist founded 
on the Parmenidean doctrine. 

Here Plato closes his general philosophical discussion, and 

reverts to the process of logical division from which 

pears that he had deviated. In descending the predicamental 

hStin"g d> ste P s > to fiml the lo g ic al place of the Sophist, Plato 

Truth, is had reached a point where he assumed Non-Ens, tc- 

1 Plato, M Sophist, p. ^263 B. "OVTWJ/ OVKOVV eireiircp Aoyos dArjflijs i}i/ KOI 

Se ye ovra erepa. irepl crov. i^evfiifc, TOVTWV 8* </><XKJ Stavoia /aev 

That is, erepo rStv ovrtav, being the avTTjs wpos eavrhv tjrvx>fc SiaAoyos, So&x 

explanation given by Plato of TO /*/ Se Stavoias airoTcXev-nqtrts, Qatverai $t 

2 T>1otn Qnnhtef r 9fi* T" <rWS Kttl 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 263 D. T<s A , fry 

3 Plato, Sophist, pp. 263-264. 264 A-B : iJta ical Ivio 


gether with false propositions and judgments affirm- theoreti- 

ing Non-Ens. To which the Sophist is conceived as sible, and 

replying, that Non-Ens was contradictory and impos- may beT* 

sible, and that no proposition could be false. On profession, 

i TVI 111 i i like that of 

these points Plato has produced an elaborate argu- the Sophist, 

ment intended to refute him, and to show that there f^ pro^ d 

was such a thing as falsehood imitating truth, or ducingit. 
passing itself off as truth : accordingly, that there might be an 
art or profession engaged in producing such falsehood. 

Now the imitative profession may be distributed into those 
who know what they imitate and those who imitate . 

without knowing. 1 The man who mimics your figure tribution of 

or voice, knows what he imitates : those who imitate those who" 

the figure of justice and virtue often pass themselves imitate 

. i ., , i , n i ., i what they 

off as knowing it, yet do not really know it, having know, or 

nothing better than fancy or opinion concerning it. 

Of these latter a^ain (i.e. the imitators with mere of these 
i . i 11 > ^ . i . i last, some 

opinion, but no knowledge, respecting that which sincerely 

they imitate) there are two classes : one, those who themselves 

sincerely mistake their own mere opinions for know- to know, 

11 i f i i i i j/i j. ,1 11 others are 

ledge, and are falsely persuaded that they really conscious 

know : the other class, those who by their perpetual n otVnow d 
occupation in talking, lead us to suspect and appre- and de- 
hen d that they are conscious of not knowing things, pose upon 
which nevertheless they discuss before others as if otliers - 
they did know. 2 

Of this latter class, again, we may recognise two sections : 

those who impose upon a numerous audience by long _ 
T IT 4.4. j 4.-U i, Last class 

discourses on public matters : and those who in pri- divided 

vate, by short question and answer, compel the person ^pose^on' 

conversing with them to contradict himself. 8 The numerous 

man of long discourse is not the true statesman, but fong dfe- * 

the popular orator : the man of short discourse, but ^tor_? e 

without any real knowledge, is not the truly wise Those who 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 267 A-D. 3 Plato, Sophist, jp. 268 B. rbv per 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 268 A. jrb Se 0a- ftwuxrt'f T KCU fLcucpot? Adyoi? mpbsjrt-"- 




select audi mailj 8 * nce ^ e ^ as no rea * knowledge but the imi- 

tors, by 
short ques- 
tion and 
making the 
the Sophist. 

tator of the wise man, or Sophist. 

it Charac- 
ascribed to 
a Sophist. 

We have here the conclusion of this abstruse and 
complicated dialogue, called Sophisms. It ends by 
setting forth, as the leading characteristics of the So- 
Sosecf^Re- phkt that he deals in short question and answer so 
marks upon as to make the respondent contradict himself : That 
he talks with small circles of listeners, upon a large 
variety of subjects, on which he possesses no real 
knowledge : That he mystifies or imposes upon his 
auditors ; not giving his own sincere convictions, but talking for 
the production of a special effect. He is vavrioiroio\oyiKb$ and 
ip<Mz/, to employ the two original Platonic words, neither of 
which is easy to translate. 

I dare say that there were some acute and subtle disputants 
in Athens to whom these characteristics belonged, 
though we do not know them by name. But we 
know one to whom they certainly belonged : and that 
was, Sokrates himself. They stand manifest and pro- 
minent both in the Platonic and in the Xenophontic 
dialogues. The attribute which Xenophon directly 
predicates about him, that " in conversation he dealt 
with his interlocutors just as he pleased," l is amply 
exemplified by Plato in the Protagoras, Gorging, Euthyphron, 
Laches, Charmides, Lysias, Alkibiades I. and II., Hippias I. and 
II., &c. That he cross-examined and puzzled every one else 
without knowing the subjects on which he talked, better than 
they did is his own declaration in the Apology. That the 

These cha- 
may have 
to other 
but they 
belonged in 
an especial 
manner to 

i Xen. Memor. jL 2, 14, rots 

oiievois avT<j> 7ra<rt 


Compare, to the same purpose, i. 4, 1, 
where we are told that Sokrates em- 
ployed his colloquial Elenchus as a 
means of chastising (KoAao-njotov eVe/ca) 
those who thought that they knew 
every thing; and the conversation of 
Sokrates with the youthful Euthy- 
demus. especially what is said by 
Xenophon at the close of it (iv. 4, 

The power of Sokrates to vanquish 
in dialogue the persons called Sophists, 
and to make them contradict themselves 
in answering is clearly brought out, 
and doubtless intentionally brought 
out, in some of Plato's most consum- 
mate dialogues. Alkibiades says, in 
the Platonic Protagoras (p. 336), 
" Sokrates confesses himself no match 
for Protagoras in long speaking. If 
Protagoras on his side confesses him- 
self inferior to Sokrates in dialogue, 
Sokrates is satisfied." 




Athenians regarded him as a clever man mystifying them 
talking without sincere persuasion, or in a manner so strange 
that you could not tell whether he was in jest or in earnest 
overthrowing men's established convictions by subtleties which 
led to no positive truth is also attested both by what he him- 
self says in the Apology, and by other passages of Plato and 
Xenophon. 1 

Moreover, if we examine not merely the special features 
assigned to the Sophist in the conclusion of the dia- The condi- 
logue, but also those indicated in the earlier part of ^ated^n 
it, we shall find that many of them fit Sokrates as the dialogue 
well as they could have fitted any one else. If the taking of a 
Sophists lumted after rich young men, 2 Sokrates did {j^tes S " 
the same; seeking opportunities for conversation with better than 
them by assiduous frequentation of the paloestrre, as known r 
well as in other ways. We see this amply attested P erson - 
by Plato and Xenophon : 3 we see farther that Sokrates announces 

1 Plato, Apolog. p. 37 E. eav re yap 
A.eyta>, on TW QetS aneiOclv TOUT* eerrtv, 
KCU Sia TOUT" O.SVVO.TOV qa'vx^ia.v ayeiv, ov 
TmVearfle /JLOI. cos etpcovtvojaeVcf). 

Xen. Memor. iv. 4, 9. dpKet yap 
(says Hippias to Sokrates), 6 TWI/ 

aAAeov KarayeXtjs, epcurrtoi/ KOL e\eyx<*>v 
rravras, avros 8e ovSevi 0e'A.wi> virf\ew 
\6yov, ovSk yvui i*.v\v a.Tro(f)a.ivear9a.t. irepl 
ovSevds. See also Memorab. iii. 5, 24. 

Compare a striking passage in Plato's 
Menon, p. 80 A ; also Theretet. p. 149 ; 
and Plutarch, Quaest. Platonic, p. 

The attribute dpuveia, which Plato 
here declares as one of the main cha- 
racteristics of the Sophists, is applied 
to Sokrates in a very special manner, 
not merely in the Platonic dialogues, 
but also by Timon in the fragments of 
his Silli remaining Ayr?) eieetVr) ^ 
etwQuta cipwi/eta SwKparous 

(Plato. Repub. i. p. 337 A) ; and again 

irpovAeyov ort ^crv aTTOKpiVatr^at pfv 
OVK f9e\yj(roi.$, eiptavevo'oio 8e Kal 
irdvra ju.aAA.oi/ 7roi*7crois y aTTOKpiVoio, ei 
rts rt ore epa>T^. So also in the Sym- 
posion, p. 216 E, Alkibiades says about 
Sokrates eip(uveu6/u,evos^ 6e *cai 
Traifav iravra. rbv /3toi/ Trpb? TOV? av9pu>- 
TTOVS fitareAet. And Oorgias, p. 489 E. 
In another part of the Gorgias (p. 481 
B), Kallikles says, "Tell me, Cheere- 
phon, does Sokrates mean seriously 

what ho says, or is he bantering?" 

o"7rovSaei TO.VTO. SwKpaTTjv T) Traifct ; 
Protagoras, Prodikus, Hippias, &c., do 
not seem to have been etpwi/es at all, as 
far as our scanty knowledge goes. 

The words ctpwv, etpwvt/cds, etpcoveux, 
seem to include more than is implied 
in our words irony, ironical. Schleier- 
macher translates the words airhovv 
/xi/x^TTji', etpwi/tKoi/ ju,t/m.i7Ti7i/, at the end 
of the Sophistds, by " den ehrlichen, 
den Schlauen, Nachahmer " ; which 
seems to me near the truth, meaning 
one who either speaks what he does 
not think, or evades speaking what he 
does think, in order to serve some 
special purpose. 

2 Plato, Sophist p. 223. vewv rrAov- 
cruov Kai eV86(oi/ flrjpa. 

3 In the opening words of the Pla- 
tonic Protagoras, we read as a ques- 
tion from the friend or companion of 
Sokrates, Iloflev, & SwKpares, <atVet; 
fl a7rb /cvi/Tjyecrtov TOV Trepi rr\v 
'AAKtj3id5ov aipai/; 

See also the opening of the Char- 
midcs, Lysis, Alkibiades I., and the 
speech of Alkibiades in the Symposion. 

Compare also Xenophon, Memorab. 
iv. 2, 1-2-6, with the commencement 
of the Platonic Protagoras ; in which 
the youth Hippokrates, far from being 
run after by the Sophist Protagoras, is 
described as an enthusiastic admirer of 




it as a propensity natural to him, and meritorious rather than 
otherwise. Again, the argumentative dialogue disputation or 
eristic reduced to an art, and debating on the general theses of 
just and unjust, which Plato notes as characterising the Sophists 1 
belonged in still higher perfection to Sokrates. It not only 
formed the business of his life, but is extolled by Plato else- 
where, 2 as the true walk of virtuous philosophy. But there was 
undoubtedly this difference between Sokrates and the Sophists, 
that he conversed and argued gratuitously, delighting in the pro- 
cess itself; while they both asked and received money for it. 
Upon this point, brought forward by Plato both directly and 
with his remarkable fertility in multiplying indirect allusions, 
the peculiarity of the Sophist is made mainly to turn. To ask 
or receive a fee for communicating knowledge, virtue, aptitude in 
debate, was in the view of Sokrates and Plato a grave enormity : 
a kind of simoniacal practice. 3 

We have seen also that Plato assigns to what he terms " the 
thoroughbred and noble Sophistic Art" (77 yivei yevvaia 
o-o^icrriKj)), the employment of the Elenchus, for the 
purpose of destroying, in the minds of others, that 
^ se persuasion of existing knowledge which was the 
phistical radical impediment to their imbibing acquisitions of 
longs to" real knowledge from the teacher. 4 Here Plato draws 

The art 
which Plato 


that Sophist from reputation alone, and 
as eagerly soliciting Sokrates to pre- 
sent him to Protagoras (Protag. pp. 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 225 C. To 84 ye 
evTe\vov KCU Trepl SiKaiwv avrwi' xal 
aSiicoiv /cat Trepl T<OV a\A.(oi/ oAws a/u.<f><,<r- 


Spengel says truly in his Swa-ywyJ) 
Te\vH)v, p. 40" Quod si sermo et 
locus hie esset do Sophistarum doc- 
trina et philosophia, odium quod nunc 
vulgo in eos vertunt, raajore ex parte 
sine causa et ratione esse conceptum, 
eosque laude magis quam vitupcra- 
tione dignos esse censendos haud 
multa cum opera exponi posset. Sic, 
quo proscincfuntur convicio, juvenes 
non nisi magno pretio eruditos esse, 
levissimum est ; immo hoc sophistas 
suse ipsorum scientiae satis conflsos 
esse neque earn despexisse, docet : et 
vitium, si modo vitium dicendum, com- 
nmne est vel potius ortum optimis 

lyricae poeseos asseclis, Simonide, Pin- 
daro, aliis." 

2 Plato, Thesetet. p. 175 C. 

3 It is to be remembered, however, 
that Plato, though doubtless exacting 
no fee, received presents from rich ad- 
mirers like Dion and Dionysius : and 
there were various teachers who found 
presents more lucrative than fees. 
" M. Antonius Guipho fuisse dicitur 
ingenii magni, memorise singularis, nee 
minus Greece, quam Latin6, doctus : 
prseterea comi facilique natura, nee 
unguam de mercedibus pactus eoque 
plura ex liberalitate discentium conse- 
cutu8." (Sueton. De Illustr. Gram- 
mat. 7.) 

4 Plato, Sophist, p. 230 D. vplv &v 

awep olfiev 


a portrait not only strikingly resembling Sokrates, Sokrates 

, f IT i A f 1 and to no 

but resembling no one else. As far as we can make one else, 

out, Sokrates stood alone in this original conception ^h^^Jas" 

of the purpose of the Elcnchus, and in his no less peculiar to 

i f i ,. 4. m . nim. Prota- 

original manner of working it out. To prove to gorasand 

others that they knew nothing, is what he himself ^r^not 

represents to ,be his mission from the Delphian oracle. Sophists in 

otii- n i ' j f j.i - ^ -IT this sense. 

Sokrates is a Sophist of the most genuine and noble 

stamp : others are Sophists, but of a more degenerate variety. 
Plato admits the analogy with reluctance, and seeks to attenuate 
it. 1 We may remark, however, that according to the characte- 
ristic of the true Sophist here given by Plato, Protagoras and 
Prodikus were less of Sophists than Sokrates. For though we 
know little of the two former, yet there is good reason to believe, 
That the method which they generally employed was, that of 
continuous and eloquent discourse, lecture, exhortation : that 
disputation by short question and answer was less usual witli 
them, and was not their strong point : and that the Elenchus, 
in the Sokratic meaning, can hardly be said to have been used by 
them at all. Now Plato, in this dialogue, tells us that the true 
and genuine Sophist renounces the method of exhortation as un- 
profitable ; or at least employs it only subject to the condition of 
having previously administered the Elenchus with success, as his 
own patent medicine. 2 Upon this definition, Sokrates is more 
truly a Sophist than either Protagoras or Prodikus : neither of 
whom, so far as we know, made it their business to drive the 
respondent to contradictions. 

Again, Plato tells us that the Sophist is a person who disputes 
about all matters, and pretends to know all matters : 
respecting the invisible Gods, respecting the visible knowledge 
Gods, Sun, Moon, Stars, Earth, &c., respecting tran- J^JJJ^ " 
scendental philosophy, generation and essence and that time by 
respecting all civil, social, and political questions 
and respecting special arts. On all these miscel- 
laneous topics, according to Plato, the Sophists pre- 
tended to be themselves instructed, and to qualify their disciples 
for arguing on all of them. % 

i Plato, Sophist, p. 231 C. Plato, Sophist, p. 280 E. 


Now it is possible that the Sophists of that day may have pre- 
tended to this species of universal knowledge $ but most certainly 
Plato and Aristotle did the same. The dialogues of Plato em- 
brace all that wide range of topics which he tells us that the 
Sophists argued about, and pretended to teach. In an age when 
the amount of positive knowledge was so slender, it was natural 
for a clever talker or writer to fancy that he knew every thing. 
In reference to every subject then discussed, an ingenious mind 
could readily supply deductions from both hypotheses gene- 
ralities ratiocinative or imaginative strung together into an 
apparent order sufficient for the exigencies of hearers. There 
was no large range of books to be studied ; no stock of facts or 
experience to be mastered. Every philosopher wove his own 
tissue of theory for himself, without any restraint upon his intel- 
lectual impulse, in regard to all the problems then afloat. What 
the theories of the Sophists were, we do not know : but Plato, 
author of the Timseus, Republic, Leges, Kratylus, Menon who 
affirmed the pre-existence as well as post-existence of the mind, 
and the eternal self-existence of Ideas has no fair ground for 
reproaching them with blamable rashness in the extent and 
diversity of topics which they presumed to discuss. They ob- 
tained indeed (he says justly) no truth or knowledge, but merely 
a fanciful semblance of knowledgean equivocal show or imita- 
tion of reality. 1 But Plato himself obtains nothing more in the 
Timseus : and we shall find Aristotle pronouncing the like con- 
demnation on the Platonic self-existent Ideas. If the Sophists 
professed to be encyclopedists, this was an error natural to the 
age ; and was the character of Grecian philosophy generally, 
even in its most illustrious manifestations. 

Having traced the Sophist down to the character of a man of 
Inconsis- delusion and imposture, passing off appearance as if it 
tency of were reality, and falsehood as if it were truth Plato 

i Plato, Sophist6s, p. 233 C. Sofa- us about the impression made by his 

ortKTjf apa TWO. -repi iravruv eTucmJju.Tji' own dialectics or refutative conversa- 

6 <ro<t(7T$)s TJHUV, a\\' OVK a\t]6eiav tion, Plato, Apolog. p. 23 A. 

avairtyavrai. 234 B: fuyu^ara c/c ravrrjfri 67) rrjs ei-erdcretots rroAAai 



bfjuavv^a. ru>v ovr<av. fxev airex^etat fjiOi ysyova<n < KOU otai 

When the Eleate here says about the x a ^ 7n > Ta ' rat Kat /Sapurarat, wore iro\- 

Sophists (p. 233 B), 6oKov<ri Trpbs ravra Sia| air' avrwv y<syovevai, oi>o- 

eina-T-riiLOVfas e\iv avrol Trpbs airep /u,a re TOVTO \eyeer6ai, <rp<f>6s elvai olov~ 

dvTiteyov<riv, this is exactly what So- rat yap fie exdo-roj)' ol rrapovres ravr' 

krates, in the Platonic Apology, tells eti/at <ro<j>bi/ a av a\\ov eeA.e'yw. 


(as we have seen) suddenly turns round upon himself, 

and asks how such a character is possible. He repre- Sophisms. 

sents the Sophist as maintaining that no man could theltophist 

speak falsely 1 that a false proposition was self- ^^J^' 

contradictory, inasmuch as Non-Ens was inconceivable who chai-' 

and unutterable. I do not see how the argument {^ n e g fo r every 

which Plato here ascribes to the Sophist, can be re- speaking 

i i i i i i -i -i I i i /> falsehood. 

conciled with the character which he had before given He says also 
of the Sophist as a man who passed his life in dis- y^k j s 

putation and controversy : which involves the per- one who 

, , .. /.,! i j> i A maintains 

petual arraigning of other men s opinions as ialse. A f a i se pro- 

professed disputant may perhaps be accused of ad- JJ ^Sn- 
mitting nothing to be true : but he cannot well be possible. 
charged with maintaining that nothing is false. 

To pass over this inconsistency, however the reasoning of 
Plato himself on the subject of Non-Ens is an inte- Reasoning 
resting relic of ancient speculation. He has made for 2b<yutl?on. 
himself an opportunity of canvassing, not only the Ens No 
doctrine of Parmenides, who emphatically denied except* 110 
Non-Ens but also the opposite doctrine of other identical. 
schools. He farther comments upon a different opinion, ad- 
vanced by other philosophers That no proposition can be 
admitted, in which the predicate is different from the subject : 
That no proposition is true or valid, except an identical proposi- 
tion. You cannot say, Man is good : you can only say, Man is 
Man, or Good is good. You cannot say Sokrates is good, brave, 
old, stout, flat-nosed, &c., because you thereby multiply the one 
Sokrates into many. One thing cannot be many, nor many 
things one. 2 

This last opinion is said to have been held by Antisthenes, one 
of the disciples of Sokrates, We do not know how TOT--, 

-i T iviisiAHiLtip- 

he explained or defended it, nor what reserves he tion of the 
may have admitted to qualify it. Plato takes no thocop^L 
pains to inform us on this point. He treats the P redic a tion - 
opinion with derision, as an absurdity. We may conceive it as 
one of the many errors arising from a misconception of the 
purpose and function of the copula in predication. Antisthenes 

1 Plato, Sophist, pp. 240-241. Com- a Plato, Sophist, p. 251 B-C. Com- 
pare 200 B. pare Plato, PhilSbus, p. 14 0. 


probably considered that the copula implied identity between the 
predicate and the subject. Now the explanation or definition of 
man is different from the explanation or definition of good: 
accordingly, if you say, Man is good, you predicate identity 
between two different things : as if you were to say Two is 
Three, or Three is Four. And if the predicates were multiplied, 
the contradiction became aggravated, because then you predicated 
identity not merely between one thing and another different 
thing, but between one thing and many different things. The 
opinion of Antisthenes depends upon two assumptions That 
each separate word, whether used as subject or as predicate, de- 
notes a Something separate and existent by itself : That the 
copula implies identity. Now the first of these two assumptions 
is not unfrequently admitted, even in the reasonings of Plato, 
Aristotle, and many others : while the latter is not more re- 
markable than various other erroneous conceptions which have 
been entertained, as to the function of the copula. 

What is most important to observe is That at the time which 
No formal we are here discussing, there existed no such sciences 
LiexTst- r as e ^ ner grammar or formal logic. There was a 
ed at that copious and flexible language a large body of litera- 
aruiiysisor ture, chiefly poetical and great facility as well as 
classifies^ felicity in the use of speech for the purposes of com- 
positions munication and persuasion. But 110 attempt had yet 
works of 6 been made to analyse or theorise on speech : to dis- 
Aristotie. thiguish between the different functions of words, 
and to throw them into suitable classes : to generalise the 
conditions of good or bad use of speech for proving a conclusion : 
or to draw up rules for grammar, syntax, and logic. Both Pro- 
tagoras and Prodikus appear to have contributed something 
towards this object, and Plato gives various scattered remarks 
going still farther. But there was no regular body either of 
grammar or of formal logic : no established rules or principles to 
appeal to, no recognised teaching, on either topic. It was 
Aristotle who rendered the important service of filling up this 
gap. I shall touch hereafter upon the manner in which he pro- 
ceeded : but the necessity of laying down a good theory of 
predication, and precepts respecting the employment of proposi- 
tions in reasoning, is best shown by such misconceptions as this 


of Antisthenes ; which naturally arise among argumentative men 
yet untrained in the generalities of grammar and logic. 

Plato announces his intention, in this portion of the Sophistes, 
to confiate all these different schools of thinkers, to Plato's <ie- 
whom he has made allusion. 1 His first purpose, in p^f n p ^ r j 
reasoning against those who maintained Non-Ens to Sophist^ 

. ..,,,, ,., - , i ,1 , ,1 To confute 

be an incogitable absurdity, is, to show that there are the various 

equal difficulties respecting Ens : that the Existent Ankers- 

is just as equivocal and unintelligible as the Non- Antis- 

Existent. Those who recognise two co-ordinate and menkles, JU 

elementary principles (such as Hot and Cold) main- 
tain that both are really existent, and call them both, &c. 
Entia. Here (argues Plato) they contradict themselves : they 
call their two elementary principles one. What do they mean 
by existence, if this be not so ? 

Then again, Parmenides and those who affirm that Ens 
Totum was essentially Unum, denying all plurality had diffi- 
culties on their side to surmount. Ens could not be identical 
with Unum, nor was the name Ens, identical with the thing 
named Ens. Moreover, though Ens Unum was Totum, yet Totum 
was not identical with Ens or with Unum. Totum necessarily 
implied paries : but the Unum per se was indivisible or implied 
absence of parts. Though it was true therefore that Ens was 
both Unum and Totum, these two were both of them essentially 
different from Ens, and belonged to it only by way of adjunct 
accident. Parmenides was therefore wrong in saying that Unum 
alone existed. 

The reasoning here given from Plato throws some light upon 
the doctrine just now cited from Antisthenes. You piato'srefu- 
cannot say (argues Plato against the advocates of {$J|?" g u rht 
duality) that two elements (Hot and Cold) are both of upon the 
them Entia or Existent, because by so doing you call AntS* 6 f 
them one. You cannc(t say (argues Antisthenes) that tbenes. 
Sokrates is good, brave, old, &c., because by such speech you call 
one thing three. Again, in controverting the doctrine of Par- 

1 Plato, Soj)hist. p. 251 C-D. "Iva. ical irpbs TOV? aAAov?, ocrots efjLirpo<r0ev 
roivvv ffpbs airavrat ^ yjuv 6 Aoyo? SieiAe'yfxttfa, TO. v\>v ai iv c'pa>ri)<m 


TOVS ir<i)iroTH irepi ova*ta? Kai OTLOVV \ex&r)<r6fjieva. 
eorw cai n-pb? TOUTOU? 


menides, Plato urges, That Ens cannot be Unum, because it is 
Totum (Unum having no parts, while To turn has parts) : but it 
may carry with it the accident Unum, or may have Unum 
applied to it as a predicate by accident. Here again, we have 
difficulties similar to those which perplexed Antisthenes. For 
the same reason that Plato will not g admit, That Ens is Unum 
Antisthenes will not admit, That Man is good. It appeared to 
him to imply essential identity between the predicate and the 

All these difficulties and others to which we shall come pre- 
sently, noway peculiar to Antisthenes attest the incomplete 
formal logic of the time : the want of a good theory respecting 
predication and the function of the copula. 

Pursuing the purpose of establishing his conclusion (viz. That 
Plato's Ens involved as many perplexities as Non-Ens), Plato 
13 the comes to tlie two opposite sects : 1. Those (the 
Materialists. Materialists) who recognised bodies and nothing else, 
as the real Entia or Existences. 2. Those (the Friends of Forms, 
the Idealists) who maintained that incorporeal and intelligible 
Forms or Species were the only real existences ; and that bodies 
had no existence, but were in perpetual generation and destruc- 
tion. 1 

Respecting the first, Plato says that they must after all be 
ashamed not to admit, that justice, intelligence, &c., are some- 
thing real, which may be present or absent in different individual 
men, and therefore must exist apart from all individuals. Yet 
justice and intelligence are not bodies. Existence therefore is 
something common to body and not-body. The characteristic 
mark of existence is, power or potentiality. Whatever has power 
to act upon any thing else, or to be acted on by any thing else, is 
a real Ens or existent something. 2 

Unfortunately we never know any thing about the opponents 
Reply open ^ ^ ato ) nor now tne Y would have answered his ob- 
to the Mate- jection except so much as he chooses to tell us. But 
na 1S * it appears to me that the opponents whom he is here 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 246 B. rarov virb TOV <av\OTaTOV, KO.V el U.QVOV 

2 Plato, ^Sophist, p. 247 D-E. Xe'yw tcr<x7ra, irav TOVTO OI/TWS eW- rCOe^an. 
6rj TO ical brroi.a.vovv K.eKTt)j^evov 8 v v a- yap opof opicjeii/ ra ovra, ws ecrrtv ov<c 
U.LV, eir'^ets TO iroteti/ Jsrepov onovv a\Ao TI irKyv 8v i/a/u,i$. 

7re<f>vKos elr et? TO irafaiv nal <r/uu/cp6- 


confuting would have accepted his definition, and employed it 
for the support of their own opinion. "We recognise (they 
would say) just men, or hard bodies, as existent, because they 
conform to your definition : they have power to act and be acted 
upon. But justice, apart from just men hardness, apart from 
hard bodies has no such power : they neither act upon any 
thing, nor are acted on by any thing : therefore we do not recog- 
nise them as existent." According to their view, objects of 
porception acted on the mind, and therefore were to be recog- 
nised as existent : objects of mere conception did not act on the 
mind, and therefore had not the same claim to be ranked as 
existent : or at any rate they acted on the mind in a different 
way, which constitutes the difference between the real and 
unreal. Of this difference Plato's definition takes no account 1 

Plato now presents this same definition to the opposite class of 
philosophers : to the Idealists, or partisans of the in- Plato's 
corporeal or of self- existent and separate Forms, agl^tthe 
These thinkers drew a marked distinction between idealists 
the Existent and the Generated between Ens and of Forms/ 
Fiens TO ov and TO yiyvopevov. Ens or the Exis- of h ^ew infc 
tent was eternal and unchangeable : Fiens or the against him. 
Generated was always in change or transit, coming or going. 
We hold communion (they said) with the generated or transitory, 
through our bodies and sensible perceptions : we hold commu- 
nion with unchangeable Ens through our mind and by intellec- 
tion. They did not admit the definition of existence just given 
by Plato. They contended that that definition applied only to 
Fiens or to the sensible world not to Ens or the intelligible 
world. 2 Fiens had power to act and be acted upon, and existed 
only under the condition of being so : that is, its existence was 
only temporary, conditional, relative : it had no permanent or 
absolute existence at all. Ens was the real existent, absolute and 
independent neither acting upon any thing nor being acted 
upon. They considered that Plato's definition was not a defini- 
tion of Existence, or the Absolute : but rather of Non-Existence* 
or the Relative. 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 247 E. rb /ecu oTrotai/ovi/ KeKTnu,evov Svi/atuv. &c. 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 248 C. 



But (asks Plato in reply) what do you mean by "the mind 
Plato argues homing communion " with the intelligible world ? 
That to You mean that the mind knows, comprehends, con- 
ceives, the intelligible world : or in other words, that 
tne intelligible world (Ens) is known, is compre- 
a mode of ' hended, is conceived, by the mind. To be known or 
re a ivi y. conceived, is to be acted on by the mind. 1 Ens, or 
the intelligible world, is thus acted upon by the mind, and has a 
power to be so acted upon : which power is, in Plato's definition 
here given, the characteristic mark of existence. Plato thus 
makes good his definition as applying to Ens, the world of 
intelligible Forms not less than to Fiens, the world of sensible 

The definition of existence, here given by Plato, and the way in 
which he employs it against the two different sects of philoso- 
phers Materialists and Idealists deserves some remark. 

According to the Idealists or Immaterialists, Plato's definition 
Plato's rea- of existence would be supposed to establish the case 
soning o f their opponents the Materialists, who recognised 
with the nothing as existing except the sensible world : for 
?iew*of f Plato's definition (as the Idealists thought) fitted the 
both. sensible world, but fitted nothing else. Now these 

Idealists did not recognise the sensible world as existent at all. 
They considered it merely as Fiens, ever appearing and vanish- 
ing. The only Existent, in their view, was the intelligible 
world Form or Forms, absolute, eternal, unchangeable, but 
neither visible nor perceivable by any of the other senses. This 
is the opinion against which Plato here reasons, though in various 
other dialogues he gives it as his own opinion, or at least, as the 
opinion of his representative spokesman. 

In this portion of the present dialogue (Sophistes) the point 
which he makes is, to show to the Idealists, or Absolutists, that 
their Forms are not really absolute, or independent of the mind : 
that the existence of these forms is relative, just as much as that 
of the sensible world. The sensible world exists relatively to 
our senses, really or potentially exercised : the intelligible world 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 248 D. el irpoo-o- yivtixntew / ytyvuHrtcecrOat <are tronj/xa i) 
uoAoyoCo't TTJV u.ev \fsvxhv yivwoveeii/, TTJV nd9o<; fj OLfufroTepov ; 
6 ova-Cov ytyi/wovceatfat . . . Tt6l; TO 


exists relatively to our intelligence, really or potentially exer- 
cised. In both cases alike, we hold communion with the two 
worlds : the communion cannot be left out of sight, either in the 
one case or in the other. The communion is the entire and fun- 
damental fact, of which the Subject conceiving and the Object 
conceived, form the two opposite but inseparable faces the con- 
cave and convex, to employ a favourite illustration of Aristotle. 
Subject conceiving, in communion with Object conceived, are 
one and the same indivisible fact, looked at on different sides. 
This is, in substance, what Plato urges against those philosophers 
who asserted the absolute and independent existence of intelli- 
gible Forms. Such forms (he says) exist only in communion 
with, or relatively to, an intelligent mind : they arc not absolute, 
not independent : they are Objects of intelligence to an intelli- 
gent Subject, but they are nothing without the Subject, just as 
the Subject is nothing without them or some other Object. 
Object of intelligence implies an intelligent Subject : Object of 
sense implies a sentient Subject. Thus Objects of intelligence, 
mid Objects of sense, exist alike relatively to a Subject not 
absolutely or independently. 

This argument, then, of Plato against the Idealists is an argu- 
ment against the Absolute showing that there can Thear^u- 
be no Object of intelligence or conception without its . ent * 
obverse side, the intelligent or concipient Subject, to an entire 
The Idealists held, that by soaring above the sensible itwSrte? 10 
world into the intelligible world, they got out of the and a full 
region of the Relative into that of the Absolute. But ment of the 
Plato reminds them that this is not the fact. Their Relative - 
intelligible world is relative, not less than the sensible ; that is, 
it exists only in communion with a mind or Subject, but with a 
Cogitant or intelligent Subject, not a percipient Subject. 

The argument here urged by Plato coincides in its drift and 
result with the dictum of Protagoras Man is the coincidence 
measure of all things. In my remarks on the These- ^^wlfh 
tStus, 1 I endeavoured to make it appear that the Pro- the doctrine 
tagorean dictum was really a negation of the Absolute, as inthe 
of the Thing in itself, of the Object without a Sub- Theaetetus. 

1 See my notice of the Theettus, where I have adverted to Plato's rea- 
in the chapter immediately preceding, soning in the Sophistds. 


iect : and an affirmation of the Relative, of the Thing in com- 
munion with a percipient or concipient mind, of Object impli- 
cated with Subject as two aspects or sides of one and the same 
conception or cognition. Though Plato in the Thesete'tus argued 
at length against Protagoras, yet his reasoning here in the 
Sophistes establishes by implication the conclusion of Protagoras. 
Here Plato impugns the doctrine of those who (like Sokrates in 
his own Thesetetus) held that the sensible world alone was 
relative, but that the intelligible world or Forms were absolute. 
He shows that the latter were no less relative to a mind than 
the former ; and that mind, either percipient or cogitant, could 
never be eliminated from " communion " with them. 

These same Idealist philosophers also maintained That 
The Idea- Forms, or the intelligible world, were eternally the 
tehiec? that same an ^ im( 'h ail geable. Plato here affirms that this 
ideas or ' opinion is not true : he contends that the intelligible 
enttreiyTn- world includes both change and unchangeableness r 
andSSa mot i n an( l rest > difference and sameness, life, mind, 
Plato here intelligence, &c. He argues that the intelligible 
amfmain- 8 ' world, whether assumed as consisting of one Form or 
tains that O f man y Forms, could not be regarded either as 

Ideas were J ; 

partly .wholly changeable or wholly unchangeable : it must 

partly 6 ? 6 ' comprise both constituents alike. If all were change- 
changeable, able, or if all were unchangeable, there could be no 
Object of knowledge ; and, by consequence, no knowledge. 1 But 
the fact that there is knowledge (cognition, conception), is the 
fundamental fact from which we must reason ; and any conclu- 
sion which contradicts this must be untrue. Therefore the 
intelligible world is not all homogeneous, but contains different 
and even opposite Forms change and unchangeableness motion 
and rest different and same. 2 

Let us now look at Plato's argument, and his definition of 
Plato's rea- existence, as they bear upon the doctrine of the 
soning opposing Materialist philosophers, whom he states to 

SStSrfa? 18 have held that bodies alone existed, and that the 
lists. Incorporeal did not exist : in other words that all 

real existence was concrete and particular : that the abstract 

l Plato, Sophist, p. 249 B. vjt/3<uW 6' otv aKtv^ruv re QVTUV vovv /uujfieix, 
irtpl /uujSeypV elvai |u,7}6afiOv. 
* Plato, Sophist, p. 249 C. 


(universals, forms, attributes) had no real existence, certainly no 
separate existence. As I before remarked, it is not quite clear 
what or how much these philosophers denied. But as far as we 
can gather from' Plato's language, what they denied was, the 
existence of attributes apart from a substance. They did not 
deny the existence of just and wise men, but the existence of 
justice and wisdom, apart from men real or supposable. 

In the time of Plato, distinction between the two classes of 
words, Concrete and Abstract, had not become so Difference 
clearly matter of reflection as to be noted by two concrete 
appropriate terms : in fact, logical terminology was and Ab- 

I -4. A 4. v 4. TJ 4.1 f 4.1 i struct, not 
yet in its first rudiments. It is therefore the less then made 

matter of wonder that Plato should not here advert to JJg 8p i^ . e 

the relation between the two, or to the different sense meaning 

in which existence might properly be predi cable of bTplatoTo 

both. He agrees with the materialists or friends of p^taSSi 

the Concrete, in affirming that sensible objects, Man, not only 

Horse, Tree, exist (which the Idealists or friends of percontion, 

the Abstract denied) : but he differs from them by by* Objects 
, , ,-x J of Concep- 

saying that other Objects, super-sensible and merely tionbesides, 
intelligible, exist also namely, Justice, Virtue, Whiteness, 
Hardness, and other Forms or Attributes. He admits that these 
last-mentioned objects do not make themselves manifest to the 
senses ; but they do make themselves manifest to the intelli- 
gence or the conception : and that is sufficient, in his opinion, to 
authenticate them as existent. The word existent, according to 
his definition (as given in this dialogue), includes not only all 
that is or may be perceived, but also all that is or may be known 
by the mind ; i.e., understood, conceived, imagined, talked or 
reasoned about. Existent, or Ens, is thus made purely relative : 
having its root in a Subject, but ramifying by its branches in 
every direction. It bears the widest possible sense, co-extensive 
with Object universally, either of perception or conception. It 
includes all fictions, as well as all (commonly called) realities. 
The conceivable and the existent become equivalent. 

Now the friends of the Concrete, against whom Plato reasons, 
used the word existent in a narrower sense, as com- Narrower 
prising only the concretes of the sensible world. S^by 
They probably admitted the existence of the abstract, Materialists 


the En hT a ^ on g w ^ ailL ^ particularised in the concrete : but 
eluded only they certainly denied the separate existence of the 
Perception. Abstract i.e., of Forms, Attributes, or classes, apart 
Their rea- from particulars. They would not deny that many 
opposed to things were conceivable, more or less dissimilar from 
Plato. t^ realities of the sensible world : but they did not 

admit that all those conceivable things ought to be termed 
existent or realities, and put upon the same footing as the sensible 
world. They used the word existent to distinguish between Men, 
Horses, Trees, on the one hand and Cyclopes, Centaurs, 
TpyAa(/)ot, &c., on the other. A Centaur is just as intelligible 
and conceivable as cither a man or a horse ; and according to this 
definition of Plato, would be as much entitled to be called really 
existent. The attributes of man and horse are real, because the 
objects themselves are real and perceivable : the class man and 
the class horse is real, for the same reason : but the attributes of a 
Centaur, and the class Centaurs, are not real, because no indi- 
viduals possessing the attributes, or belonging to the class, have 
ever been perceived, or authenticated by induction. Plato's 
Materialist opponents would here have urged, that if he used the 
word existent or Ens in so wide a sense, comprehending all that is 
conceivable or nameable, fiction as well as reality they would 
require some other words to distinguish fiction from reality 
Centaur from Man : which is what most men mean when they 
speak of one thing as non-existent, another thing as existent. 
At any rate, here is an equivocal sense of the word Ens a wider 
and a narrower sense which we shall find frequently perplexing 
us in the ancient metaphysics ; and which, when sifted, will 
often prove, that what appears to be a difference of doctrine, is in 
reality little more than a difference of phraseology. 1 

i Plato here aspires to deliver one more or less remote, with each other, 

definition of Ens, applying to all cases. See Aristot. Metaphys. A. 1017, a. 7, 

The contrast between him and Ari- seq. ; vi. 1028, a. 10. 
stotle is shown in the more cautious It is declared by Aristotle to be the 

procedure of the latter, who entirely question first and most disputed in 

renounces the possibility of giving any Philosophia Prima, Quid est Ens ? 

one definition fitting all cases. Ari- K<xl STJ xai TO rraXot re al vvv ical del 

stotle declares Ens to be an equivocal 6jTovjx*'oi> *al del oTropov/nevoi/, TOVTO 

word (6/xwvv/moK), and discriminates e<m, rt's T\ ovcria. (p. 1028, b. 2). Com- 

several different significations which pare, B. 1001. a. 6, 31. 
it bears : all these significations having This subject is well treated by 

nevertheless an analogical affinity, Brentano, in his Dissertation Ueber 


This enquiry respecting Ens is left by Plato professedly 
unsettled ; according to his very frequent practice. Djfj erent 
He pretends only to have brought it to this point : definitions 
that Ens or the Existent is shown to present as many y Plato- 
difficulties and perplexities as Non-Ens or the non- JJJiJJj* 6 " 
existent. 1 I do not think that he has shown thus the Idea- 
much ; for, according to his definition, Non-Ens is an * 
impossibility : the term is absolutely unmeaning : it is equiva- 
lent to the Unknowable or Inconceivable as Parmenides 
affirmed it to be. But he has undoubtedly shown that Ens is in 
itself perplexing : which, instead of lightening the difficulties 
about Non-Ens, aggravates them : for all the difficulties about 
Ens must be solved, before you can pretend to understand Non- 
Ens. Plato has shown that Ens is used in three different 
meanings : 

1. According to the Materialists, it means only the concrete 
and particular, including all the attributes thereof, essential and 

2. According to the Idealists or friends of Forms, it means 
only Universals, Forms, and Attributes. 

3. According to Plato's own definition here given, it means 
both the one and the other : whatever the mind can either 
perceive or conceive : whatever can act upon the mind in any 
way, or for any time however short. It is therefore wholly 
relative to the mind : yet not exclusively to the perceiving mind 
(as the Materialists said), nor exclusively to the conceiving mind 
(as the friends of Forms said) : but to both alike. 

Here is much confusion, partly real but principally verbal, 
about Ens. Plato proceeds to affirm, that the diffi- Plato's 
culty about Non-Ens is no greater, and that it admits Non-E 
of being elucidated. The higher Genera or Forms examined, 
(he says) are such that some of them will combine or enter into 
communion with each other, wholly or partially, others will not, 

die Bedeutung des Seienden im Ari- Essence are graduated, according to 

stoteles. See pp. 49-50 seq., of that Aristotle : Complete, Proper, typical, 

work. ovcria, stands at the head : there are 

Aristotle observes truly, that these then other varieties more or less ap- 

most general terms are the most con- preaching to this proper type : some 

venient hiding-places for equivocal of them which /uueabi/ rj o\>6ev x l v 

meaning (Anal. Post. ii. 97, b. 29). OI>T<K. (Metaphys. vi. 1029, b. 9.) 

The analogical varieties of Ens or * Plato, Sophist, p. 250 E. 




but are reciprocally exclusive. Motion and Rest will not enter 
into communion, but mutually exclude each other : neither of 
them can be predicated of the other. But each or both of them 
will enter into communion with Existence, which latter may be 
predicated of both. Here are three Genera or Forms : motion, 
rest, and existence. Each of them is the same with itself, and 
different from the other two. Thus we have two new distinct 
Forms or Genera Same and Different which enter into commu- 
nion with the preceding three, but are in themselves distinct from 
them. 1 Accordingly you may say, motion partakes of (or enters 
into communion with) Diversum, because motion differs from 
rest : also you may say, motion partakes of Idem, as being iden- 
tical with itself : but you cannot say, motion is different, motion 
is the same ; because the subject and the predicate are essentially 
distinct and not identical. 2 

Some things are always named or spoken of per se, others with 
reference to something else. Thus, Diversum is always different 
from something else : it is relative, implying a correlate. 3 In 

iln the Timams (pp. 35-36-37), 
Plato declares these three elements 
TavTdy, todrepoi/, Ovtrta to be the 
three constituent elements of the cos- 
mical soul, and of the human rational 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 255 B. 

MeTt'xeTOP /U.TJI' a/xc/xo (KII/TJOTIS *ca! OTa- 
<rc) ravTOV *cal tfari-'pov. . . . 

M)j TOLWV Xe-ytojuej/ Kn^aiv y' elvai 
TO.VTOV TJ flarepov, M^jS' o-v <TTa.<nv. He 
hud before said 'AAA.' ou n /uujv KiVrjo-i's 

Jt KOA crTO<rts oitQ' erepov ovre Tavr6v 
0-rt.v (p. 255 A). 

Plato here says, It is true that *i- 
Krjorts /uiere'xet ravrou, but it is not 

true that KtVijcrif can TO.VTOV. Again, 

p. 259 A. TO /*!/ trepov fjifraa-xbi/ 


/A'0eiv, ov /utT)v cxetvo ye o^ fiere'crx 61 ' 
aAA' erepov. He understands, there- 
fore, that ccrTt, when used as copula, 
implies identity between the predicate 
and the subject. 

This is the same point of view from 
which Antisthenes looked, when he 
denied the propriety of saying *Av0po>- 

ir<5? e err 1 1/ <xya0<5s "Avflpwjros ecrrt 

Ka<6? : and when he admitted only 
identical propositions, such as *Av0p- 
iros ecTTiv avBptoiros "AyaOof ecr-rti/ 

ya06?. He assumed that e<rrt, when 
intervening between the subject and 

the predicate, implies identity be- 
tween them ; and the same assump- 
tion is made by Plato in the passage 
now before us. Whether Antisthenes 
would have allowed the proposition 
v Ai/#p(oiTos fj.fTex et - KaKias, or other 
propositions in which ecm does not 
appear as copula, we do not know 
enough of his opinions to say. 

Compare Aristotel. Physic, i. 2, 185, 
b. 27, with the Scholia of Simplikius, 
p. 330, a. 331, b. 18-28, eel. Brandis. 

Plato, Sophist, p. 255 C-D. r5>i> 
QVTtov TO. (j.ev avTo. KaO' aura, TO, 6 Trpb? 
aAAi)Aa aet A.e'y e crflat . . . TbS'erfpov 
del Trpbs ertpov . . . Nvv Se drexvws 
yulv 6, Tt Trep av erepov $, trv/ti/SejSrjKei' 
e^ dvd-y/crjs erepou TOVTO oTrep 
farrlv elfau These last words 
partly anticipate Aristotle's explana- 
tion of ra irpos rt (Categor. p. 6, a. 

Here we have, for the first time so 
far as I know (certainly anterior to 
Aristotle), names relative and names 
non-relative, distinguished as classes, 
and contrasted with each other. It is 
to be observed that Plato here uses 
Xe'yeo-flai and elvai as equivalent ; which 
is not very consistent with the sense 
which he assigns to torn/ in predica- 
tion : see the note immediately pre- 


this, as well as in other points, Diversum (or Different) is a dis- 
tinct Form, Genus, or Idea, which runs through all other things 
whatever. Each thing is different from every other thing : but 
it differs from them, not through any thing in its own nature, 
but because it partakes of the Form or Idea of Diversum or the 
Different. 1 So, in like manner, the Form or Idea of Idem (or 
Same) runs through all other things : since each thing is both 
different from all others, and is also the same with itself. 

Now motion is altogether different from rest. Motion there- 
fore is not rest. Yet still motion is, because it par- . 
takes of existence or Ens. Accordingly, motion both of the select 
<* and* not. five Forms. 

Again, motion is different from Idem or the Same. It is there- 
fore not the same. Yet still motion is the same ; because every 
thing partakes of identity, or is the same with itself. Motion 
therefore both is the same and is not the same. We must not 
scruple to advance both these propositions. Each of them stands 
on its own separate ground. 2 So also motion is different from 
Diversum or The Different ; in other words, it is not different, 
yet still it is different. And, lastly, motion is different from 
Ens, in other wordy, it is not Ens, or is non-Ens : yet still it is 
Ens, because it partakes of existence. Hence motion is both Ens, 
and Non-Ens. 

Here we arrive at Plato's explanation of Non-Ens, r6 ^77 > : 
the main problem which he is now setting to himself. Non-Ens 
is equivalent to, different from Ens. It is the Form or Idea of 
Diversum, considered in reference to Ens. Every thing is Ens, 
or partakes of entity, or existence. Every thing also is different 
from Ens, or partakes of difference in relation to Ens : it is thus 
Non-Ens. Every thing therefore is at the -same time both Ens, 
and Non-Ens. Nay, Ens itself, inasmuch as it is different from 
all other things, is Non-Ens in reference to them. It is Ens 
only as one, in reference to itself : but it is Non-Ens an infinite 
number of times, in reference to all other things. 8 

When we say Non-Ens, therefore (continues Plato), we do not 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 255 E. ire^irrov erepov elvai rtav a\\uv ov Bta rfyv nvrpv 

Si) ri\v darfpov dtvoriv \enreov iv rois l5e- ^vcriv, aAAd Sia TO nTex.*tv TTJS 

<rw oftcrav, cv oly irpoatpovfJieBa . . . teal tS e as T 17 9 6 Q.T 4 pov. 
Sia irdvruv ve avTi}V avrwv 4rf<nit*v 2 Plato, Sophist, pp. 265-256. 
W 5ieAi?Av0vIai/ ev tKO-ffrov yap Plato, Sophist, pp. 256-257. 


Plato's doc- mean any thing contrary to Ens, but merely some- 
trine That thing different from Ens. When we say Not-great, we 
nothing do not mean any thing contrary to Great, but only 
Sfferent n something different from great. The negative gene- 
from Ens. rally, when annexed to any name, does not designate 
any thing contrary to what is meant by that name, but some- 
thing different from it. The general nature or Form of differ- 
ence is disseminated into a multitude of different parts or varieties 
according to the number of different things with which it is 
brought into communion : Not-great, Not-just, &c., are specific 
varieties of this general nature, and are just as much realities as 
great, just. And thus Non-Ens is just as much a reality as Ens 
being not contrary, but only that variety of the general nature 
of difference ^which corresponds to Ens. Non-Ens, Not-great 
Not-just, &c., are each of them permanent Forms, among the 
many other Forms or Entia, having each a true and distinct 
nature of its own. 1 

I say nothing about contrariety (concludes Plato), or about any 
thing contrary to Ens ; nor will I determine whether Non-Ens 
in this sense be rationally possible or not. What I mean by 
Non-Ens is a particular case under the general doctrine of the 
communion or combination of Forms : the combination of Ens 
with Diversum, composing that which is different from Ens, and 
which is therefore Non-Ens. Thus Ens itself, being different 
from all other Forms, is Non-Ens in reference to them all, or an 
indefinite number of times 2 (i.e. an indefinite number of negative 
predications may be made concerning it). 

Non-Ens being thus shown to be one among the many other 
Forms, disseminated among all the others, and entering into 
communion with Ens among the rest we have next to enquire 
whether it enters into communion with the Form of Opinion 
and Discourse. It is the communion of the two which consti- 
tutes false opinion and false proposition : if therefore such com- 
munion be possible, false opinion and false proposition are pos- 
sible, which is the point that Plato is trying to prove. 3 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 258 ^C. on TO /*TJ Tj/iAet^ yap irepl fjt.ev fvavTiov TIVOS OVTW 
ov /3e/3auos <rrt TTJI> avrou <f)v<rtv %x ov ( T V OVTI) x a ^P eiV fl" Ae'yo/Jiet/, et-r' 
. . . OVTU> 8e cal TO JUT; ov /cara TOLVTQV tcrrtv eire /u.j Aoyoi/ t\ov TJ gal Travra- 
JJi/ re <cai e<mj> /U.T) ov, ft/dptOftov rtav woA- ircurty j$.\oyov & fie vvv eiprJKafJiev elvat 
\oiv ovrtav eTSo? cV. TO m; oV, &C. 

2 Plato, Sophist pp, 258 E 259 A. 3 Plato, Sophist, p. 260 B. 


Now it has been already stated (continues Plato) that some 

Forms or Genera admit of communion with each 

~ ... , Communion 

other, others do not. In like manner some words of Non-Ens 

admit of communion with each other not others, ^tion pos- 

Those alone admit of communion, which, when put sible and 

, . . . ' . . explicable, 

together, make up a proposition significant or giving 

information respecting Essence or Existence. The smallest pro- 
position must have a noun and a verb put together : the noun 
indicating the agent, the verb indicating the act. Every propo- 
sition must be a proposition concerning something, or must have 
a logical subject : every proposition must also be of a certain 
quality. Let us take (he proceeds) two simple propositions : 
Thecetdtus is sitting down Thecetetus is flying. 1 Of both these two, 
the subject is the same : but the first is true, the second is false. 
The first gives things existing as they are, respecting the subject : 
the second gives respecting the subject, things different from 
those existing, or in other words things non-existent, as if they 
did exist. 2 A false proposition is that which gives things diffe- 
rent as if they were the same, and things non-existent as if they 
were existent, respecting the subject. 3 

The foregoing is Plato's explanation of Non-Ens. Before we 
remark upon it, let us examine his mode of analysing imperfect 

a proposition. He conceives the proposition as con- analysis of a 

f i i mi T proposition 

sisting of a noun and a verb. The noun marks the Plato does 

logical subject, but he has no technical word equiva- nTsVthe g " 
lent to subject : his phrase is, that a proposition must predicate, 
be of something or concerning something. Then again, he not only 
has no word to designate the predicate, but he does not even 
seem to conceive the predicate as distinct and separable : it 
stands along with the copula embodied in the verb. The two 
essentials of a proposition, as he states them, are That it should 
have a certain subject That it should be of a certain quality, 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 263 A. eamjros 3 Plato, Sophist, p. 263 D. Ilepl #) 
Kci0TjT<u . . . 0airrjTOs TreTCTat. <rov Aeyoueva /nevroi Oartpa c*>s TO, aura, 

2 Plato, Sophist, p. 263 B. Ae'-yei 5e /cat /ATJ ovra a>s ovra, travrdTracriv, <*? 
avrSiV (rotv A.oywj/ Ot the two proposl- eoi*cF, ^ TotauTr; <rvvdco~is CK re pty/txa- 
tions) 6 pev a\v)&ys TO. ovra, <*>s earn irepl T<av yiyvofA^ KOI OVO/MCLTM ovro>g re 
crov . . . 'O 6 8ij il/fv8^s eVepa rtv KCU dAij6a>s yiyvevBat, Xoyos \(/ev8^. 

ovriav . . . Ta /J.TJ O^T' apa ws ovra. Xe'-yet It is plain that this explanation takes 

. . . *Ovru>v 84 ye ovra. Vepa irepi <rov. no account of negative propositions : it 

IIoAAa n*v yap e^a/xe^ ovra irepi eKa<rrov applies only to affirmative proposi- 

etvai nov, iro\\o. 8e OVK ovra. tlODS. 


true or false. 1 This conception is just, as far as it goes : but it 
does not state all which ought to be known about proposition, 
and it marks an undeveloped logical analysis. It indicates more- 
over that Plato, not yet conceiving the predicate as a distinct 
constituent, had not yet conceived the copula as such : and there- 
fore that the substantive verb ea-rw had not yet been understood 
by him in its function of pure and simple copula. The idea 
that the substantive verb when used in a proposition must 
mark existence or essence, is sufficiently apparent in several of his 

I shall now say a few words on Plato's explanation of Non-Ens. 
It is given at considerable length, and was, in the judgment of 
Schleiermacher, eminently satisfactory to Plato himself. Some 
of Plato's expressions 2 lead me to suspect that his satisfaction 
was not thus unqualified : but whether he was himself satisfied 
or not, I cannot think that the explanation ought to satisfy 

Plato here lays down the position That the word Not signifies 
Plato's x ^thing niore than difference, with respect to that 
pianatiunof other word to which it is attached. It does not 
notsafisfac- s ig n ify O ie sa y s ) what is contrary ; but simply what 

tory-Objec- is different. Not-great Not-beautiful mean what is 
tionstoit. T. , , ,. T XT -n, 

different from great or beautiful : Non-Ens means, 

not what is contrary to Ens, but simply what is different from 

First, then, even if we admit that Non-Ens has this latter 
meaning and nothing beyond yet when we turn to Plato's own 
definition of Ens, we shall find it so all-comprehensive, that there 
can be absolutely nothing different from Ens : these last words 
can have no place and no meaning. Plato defines Ens so as to 
include all that is knowable, conceivable, thinkable. 3 One por- 
tion of this total differs from another : but there can be nothing 
which differs from it all. The Form or nature of Diversum (to 

* Since the time of Aristotle, the to its form. Plato seems to have taken 
quality of a proposition has been un- no account of the formal distinction, 
derstood to designate its being either negative or affintiutive. 
affirmative or negative: that being 2 plato, SophistSs, p. 259 A-B. 
formal, or belonging to its form only. Schleiermacher, Einleitung zum So- 
Whether affirmative or negative, it may phistes, vol. iv. p. 184, of his trans- 
be true or false : and this is doubtless a lation of Plato. 
quality, but belonging to its matter, not Plato, Sophist, pp. 247-248. 


use Plato's phrase) as it is among the knowable or conceivable, is 
already included in the total of Ens, and conies into communion 
(according to the Platonic phraseology) with one portion of that 
total as against another portion. But with Ens as a whole, it 
cannot come into communion, for there is nothing apart from 
Ens. Whenever we try to think of any thing apart from Ens, 
we do by the act of thought include it in Ens, as defined by 
Plato. Different from great different from white (i.e. not great, 
not white, sensu Platonico) is very intelligible : but Different 
from Ens, is not intelligible : there is nothing except the incon- 
ceivable and incomprehensible : the words professing to describe 
it, are mere unmeaning sound. Now this is just 1 what Parme- 
nides said about Non-Ens. Plato's definition of Ens appears to 
me to make out the case of Parmenides about Non-Ens ; and to 
render the Platonic explanation different from Ens open to 
quite as many difficulties, as those which attach to Non-Ens in 
the ordinary sense. 

Secondly, there is an objection still graver against Plato's ex- 
planation. When he resolves negation into an affirmation of 
something different from what is denied, he effaces or puts out of 
sight one of the capital distinctions of logic. What he says is 
indeed perfectly true : Not-great, Not-beautiful, Non-Ens, are re- 
spectively different from great, beautiful, Ens. But this, though 
true, is only a part of the truth ; leaving unsaid another portion 
of the truth which, while equally essential, is at the same time 
special and characteristic. The negative not only differs from 
the affirmative, but has such peculiar meaning of its own, as to 
exclude the affirmative : both cannot be true together. Not-great 
is certainly different from great : so also, white, hard, rough, just, 
valiant, &c., are all different from great. But there is nothing in 
these latter epithets to exclude the co-existence of great. Thew- 
tetus is great Thecetetus is white : in the second of these two pro- 
positions I affirm something respecting Thesetetus quite different 
from what I affirm in the first, yet nevertheless noway excluding 
what is affirmed in the first. 2 The two propositions may both 

1 Compare KratyluS, 430 A. yap at airo<a<rei? eyyovot Urt TTJ T- 

2 Proklus, in his Commentary on the POTATO? T$ voepat ia TOVTO yap o v \ 
Parmenide's (p. 281, p. 785, StaObanm), iiriros t brt trtpovKcu 6ia TOVTO oi>K 
says, with reference to the doctrine laid a v & o w IT o *, on aXAo. 

down by Plato in the bophist^s, o\ws Proklua here adopts and repeats 


the scholastic maxim. The apparent exceptions to this rule arise 
only from the fact, that many terms negative in their form have 
taken on an affirmative signification. ' 

The view which Plato here takes of the negative deserves the 
greater notice, because, if it were adopted, what is piato'sview 
called the maxim of contradiction would be divested {? v * h . ^ja 
of its universality. Given a significant proposition neous. Lo- 
with the same subject and the same predicate, each of C contra? m 
taken in one and the same signification its affirma- diction - 
tive and its negative cannot both be true. But if by the nega- 
tive, you mean to make a new affirmation, different from that 
contained in the affirmative the maxirn just stated cannot be 
broadly maintained as of universal application : it may or may 
not be valid, as the case happens to stand. The second affirma- 
tion may be, as a matter of fact, incompatible with the first : but 
this is not to be presumed, from the mere fact that it is different 
from the first : proof must be given of such incompatibility. 

We may illustrate this remark by looking at the two proposi- 
tions which Plato gives as examples of true and false. Examina- 

Thecetetus is sitting downThecet$tus is flyinq. Both tion of the 
,, , f. , ,. ... -, ., illustrative 

the examples are of affirmative propositions : and it propositions 

seems clear that Plato, in all this reasoning, took no p}to H'OW 
account of negative propositions : those which simply do we know 
deny, affirming nothftig. The second of these pro- true, 'the 18 
positions (says Plato) affirms what is not, as if it were, other false < 
respecting the subject. But how do we know this to be so *? In 
the form of the second proposition there is nothing to show it : 
there is no negation of any thing, but simply affirmation of a 
different positive attribute. Although it happens, in this parti- 
cular case, that the two attributes are incompatible, and that the 
affirmation of the one includes the negation of the other yet 
there is nothing in the form of either proposition to deny the 
other : no formal incompatibility between them. Both are 
alike affirmative, with the same subject, but different predicates. 
These two propositions therefore do not serve to illustrate the 
real nature of the negative, which consists precisely in this formal 
incompatibility. The proper negative belonging to the proposi- 
tion Thecetetus is sitting down would be, Thecetetus is not sitting 
down. Plato ought to maintain, if he followed out his previous 


argument, that Not-Sitting down is as good a Form as Sitting- 
down, and that it meant merely Different from Sitting down. 
But insteUd of doing this Plato gives us a new affirmative pro- 
position, which, besides what it affirms, conceals an implied 
negation of the first proposition. This does not serve to illustrate 
the purpose of his reasoning which was to set up the formal 
negative as a new substantive attribute, different from its corre- 
sponding affirmative. As between the two, the maxim of contra- 
diction applies : both cannot be true. But as between the two 
propositions given in Plato, that maxim has no application : they 
are two propositions with the same subject, but different predi- 
cates ; which happen in this case to be, the one true, the other 
false but which are not formally incompatible. The second is 
not false because it differs from the first ; it has no essential 
connection with the first, and would be equally false, even if the 
first were false also. 

The function of the negative is to deny. Now denial is not a 
species of affirmation, but the reversal or antithesis of affirmation : 
it nullifies a belief previously entertained, or excludes one which 
might otherwise be entertained, but it affirms nothing. In 
particular cases, indeed, the denial of one thing may be tanta- 
mount to the affirmation of another : for a man may know that 
there arc only two suppositions possible, and that to shut out the 
one is to admit the other. But this is an inference drawn in 
virtue of previous knowledge possessed and contributed by him- 
self : another man without such knowledge would not draw the 
same inference, nor could he learn it from the negative proposi- 
tion per se. Such then is the genuine meaning of the negative ; 
from which Plato departs, when he tells us that the negative is a 
kind of affirmation, only affirming something different and 
when he illustrates it by producing two affirmative propositions 
respecting the same subject, affirming different attributes, the 
one as matter of fact incompatible with the other. 

But how do we know that the first proposition ThecetStus is 
Necessity of sitting down affirms what is : and that the second 
the e e P vk?e S nce proposition Thecetetus is /2/%affirms what is not 1 
of sense. If present, our senses testify to us the truth of the 
first, and the falsehood of the second : if absent, we have the 
testimony of a witness, combined with our own past experience 


attesting the frequency of facts analogous to the one, and the 
non-occurrence of facts analogous to the other. When we make 
the distinction, then, we assume that what is attested by sense 
or by comparisons and inductions from the facts of sense, is real, 
or is : and that what is merely conceived or imagined, without 
the attestation of sense (either directly or by way of induction), 
is not real, or is not. , Upon this assumption Plato himself must 
proceed, when he takes it for granted, as a matter of course, that 
the first proposition is true, and the second false. But he forgets 
that this assumption contradicts the definition which, in this 
same dialogue, 1 he had himself given of Ens of the real or the- 
lining that is. His definition was so comprehensive, as to include 
not only all that could be seen or felt, but also all that had capa- 
city to be known or conceived by the mind : and he speaks very 
harshly of those who admit the reality of things perceived, but 
refuse to admit equal reality to things only conceived. Pro- 
ceeding then upon this definition, we can allow no distinction as 
to truth or falsehood between the two propositions Thcwtetus is 
sitting down Thecetdtus is flying: the predicate of the second 
affirms what is, just as much as the predicate of the first : for it 
affirms something which, though neither perceived nor perceiv- 
able by sense, is distinctly conceivable and conceived by the 
mind. When Plato takes for granted the distinction between 
the two, that the first affirms what is t and the second what is not 
he unconsciously slides into that very recognition of the testi- 
mony of sense (in other words, of fact and experience), as the 
certificate of reality, which he had so severely denounced in the 
opposing materialist philosophers : and upon the ground of which 
he thought himself entitled, not merely to correct them as mis- 
taken, but to reprove them as wicked and impudent. 3 

I have thus reviewed a long discussion terminating in a con- 
clusion which appears to me unsatisfactory of the Errorsof 
meaning and function of the negative. I hardly Antisthenea 
think that Plato would have given such an explana- mrffly'on* 

tion of it, if he had had the opportunity of studying the imper- 
7 1X *; . , , feet formal 

the Organon of Aristotle. Prior to Aristotle, the logic of that 

principles and distinctions of formal logic were hardly ^ y ' 

1 Plato, Sophist, pp. 247 D-E, 248 D-E. a piato, Sophist, p. 240 D. 





at all developed ; nor can we wonder that others at that time 
fell into various errors which Plato scornfully derides, but very 
imperfectly rectifies. For example, Antisthenes did not admit 
the propriety of any predication, except identical, or at most 
essential, predication : the word eorii/ appeared to him incompat- 
ible with any other. But we perceive in this dialogue, that 
Plato also did not conceive the substantive verb as performing 
the simple function of copula in predication : on the contrary he 
distinguishes ecrrij/, as marking identity between subject and pre- 
dictate from pertx* *-> as marking accidental communion between 
the two. Again, there were men in Plato's day who maintained 
that Non-Ens (TO p) bv) was inconceivable and impossible. Plato, 
in refuting these philosophers, gives a definition of Ens (TO oi/), 
which puts them in the right fails in stating what the true 
negative is and substitutes, in place of simple denial, a second 
affirmation to overlay and supplant the first. 

To complete the examination of this doctrine of the Sophistes, 
Doctrine of respecting Non-Ens, we must compare it with the 
doctrine on the same subject laid down in other Pla- 
tonic dialogues. It will be found to contradict, very 
distinctly, the opinion assigned by Plato to Sokrates 
both in the Thesetetus and in the fifth Book of the 
Kepublic : l where Sokrates deals with Non-Ens in its usual 

the Soph- 
iste's con- 
that of other 

1 Plato, Kepublic, v. pp. 477-478. 
Thea?tt. pp. 188-189. Parmenide's, 
pp. 160 C, 163 C. Euthyd&nus, p. 
284 B-C. 

Aristotle (De Interpretat. p. 21, a. 
32) briefly expresses his dissent from 
an opinion, the same as what is given 
in the Platonic Sophistes that TO pfe 
bv is 6v TU He makes no mention or 
Plato, but Arnmonius in the Scholia 
alludes to Plato (p. 129, b. 20, Schol. 

We must note that the Eleate in the 
Sophiste's states both opinions respect- 
ing rb JAY) ov: first that which he 
refutes next that which he advances. 
The Scholiast may, therefore, refer to 
both opinions, as stated in the So- 
phist&s, though one of them is stated 
only for the purpose of being refuted. 

We may contrast with these views 
of Plato (in the Sophiste's) respecting 
TO /ud) ov, as not being a negation TOV 
OI/TOS, but simply a something Srcpov 
TOV OPTOS the different views of Ari- 

stotle about TO JUTJ ov, set forth in the 
instructive Commentary of M. Ra- 
vaisson, Essai sur la Metaphysinue 
d'Aristote, p. 360. 

" Le non-etre s'oppose al'fitre, comme 
sa negation : ce n'est done pas, non plus 
que rStre, une chose simple ; et autant 
il y a de genres de 1'Qtre, autant il faut 
que le non-gtre ait de genres. Cepen- 
dant 1'opposition de 1'etre et du non- 
8tre, difte"rente, en realit<5, dans chacune 
des categories, est la m&me dans toutes 
par sa forme. Dans cette forme, le 
second terme n'exprime pas autre 
chose que 1'absence du premier. Le 
rapport de 1'Stre et du non-gtre con- 
siste done dans une pure contradic- 
tion : derniere forme a laquelle toute 
opposition doit se ramener. 

Aristotle seems to allude to the 
Sophiste's, though not mentioning it 
by its title, in three passages of the 
Metaphysica E. 1026, b. 14; K. 1064, 
b. 29 ; N. 1089, a. 5 (see the note of 
Bonitz on the latter passage) perhaps 


sense as the negation of Ens : laying down the position that 
Non-Ens can be neither the object of the cognizing Mind, nor 
the object of the opining (Sogdfav) or cogitant Mind : that it is 
uncognizable and incogitable, correlating only with Non-Cogni- 
tion or Ignorance. Now we find that this doctrine (of Sokrates, 
in Thesetetus and Republic) is the very same as that which is 
affirmed, in the Sophistes, to be taken up by the delusive Sophist : 
the same as that which the Eleate spends much ingenuity in 
trying to refute, by proving that Non-Ens is not the negation of 
Ens, but only that which differs from Ens, being itself a parti- 
cular variety of Ens. It is also the same doctrine as is declared, 
both by the Eleate in the Sophistes and by Sokrates in the 
Theaetetus, to imply as an undeniable consequence, that the false- 
hood of any proposition is impossible. "A false proposition is 
that which speaks the thing that is not (TO pf) 6V). But this is an 
impossibility. You can neither know, nor think, nor speak, the 
thing that is not. You cannot know without knowing some- 
thing : you cannot speak without speaking something (i. e. 
something that is)." Of this consequence which is expressly 
announced as included in the doctrine, both by the Eleate in the 
Sophistes and by the Platonic Sokrates in the Theratetus no 
notice is taken in the Republic. 1 

also elsewhere (see Ueberweg, pp, 153- ascribed to the Eleate in the Sophistes, 
154). Plato replied in one way, Leu- and those ascribed to Sokrates in the 
kippua and Demokritus in another, Republic, Phnlon, and other Platonic 
to the doctrine of Parmenides, who dialogues. These are the main pre- 
banished Non-Ens as incogitable. misses upon which Socher resta his 
Leukippus maintained that Non-Ens inference, that the Sophist6s is not 
was equivalent to rb nevov, and that the composition of Plato. I do not 
the two elements of things were TO admit his inference: but the premisses, 
TrArjpes and TO xevov, for which he as matters of fact, appear to ine un- 
used the expressions Skv and ovStv. deniable. StaUbaum, in his Proleg. 
Plato replied as we read in the Ho- to the SophistSs, p. 40 seq., attempt^ 
phistSs : thus both he and Leukippus to explain away these discrepancies- 
tried in different ways to demonstrate in my opinion his remarks are obscure 
a positive nature and existence for and unsatisfactory. Various other corn- 
Non-Ens. See Aristot. Metaph. A. mentators, also holding the Sophistta 
985, b. 4, with the Scholia, p. 538, to be a genuine work of Plato, over- 
Brandis. The Scholiast cites Plato look or extenuate these premisses, 
ev rn IloXireia, which seems a mistake which they consider unfavourable to 
for ev T(S 2o<to-TTj. that conclusion. Thus Alkinous, in 



commentators. He points out not Platonic explanation, not adverting to 

only without disguise, but even with what is said in the Republic and 

emphasis the discrepancies and con- elsewhere (Alkin. c. 35, p. 189 in the 

tradictions between the doctrines Appendix Platonica annexed to the 




Again, the doctrine maintained by the Eleate in the Sophiste's 
respecting Ens, as well as respecting Ideas or Forms, is in other 
ways inconsistent with what is laid down in other Platonic dia- 
logues. The Eleate in the Sophistes undertakes to refute two 
different classes of opponents ; first, the Materialists, of whom he 
speaks with derision and antipathy secondly, others of very 
opposite doctrines, whom he denominates the Friends of Ideas or 
Forms, speaking of them in terms of great respect. Now by 
these Friends of Forms or Ideas, Schleiermacher conjectures 
that Plato intends to denote the Mcgaric philosophers. M. 
Cousin, and most other critics (except Bitter), have taken up this 
opinion. But to me it seems that Socher is right in declaring 
the doctrine, ascribed to these Friends of Ideas, to be the very 
same as that which is laid down by Plato himself in other impor- 
tant dialogues Kepublic, Timteus, Phsedon, Phsedrus, Kratylus, 
&c. and which is generally understood a that of the Platonic 
Ideas. 1 In all these dialogues, the capital contrast and antithesis 

edition of Plato by K. F. Hermann). 
The like appears in the npoAeyo/xei/a 
TTJS lIAarwi/o? </uAocro(/>ia$ : C. 21, p. 
215 of the same edition Proklus, in 
his Commentary on the ParmenMCs, 
speaks in much the same manner 
about TO JU.TJ ov considering the doe- 
trine advanced and defended by the 
Eleate in the SophistCs, to represent 
the opinion of Plato (p. 785 ed. Stall- 
baum ; see also the Commentary of 
Proklus on the Tima^us, b iii. p. 188 E, 
448 ed. Schneid.)- So likewise Sim- 
plikius and the commentators on Ari- 
stotle, appear to consider it see Schol. 
ad Aristotel. Thysica, p. 332, a. 8, p. 
383, b., 334, a., 343, a 5. It is plain from 
these Scholia that the commentators 
were much embarrassed in explaining 
TO pf ov. They take the Sophist& as 
if it delivered Plato's decisive opinion 
upon that point (Porphyry compares 
what Plato says in the Tiniseus, but 
not what he says in the Republic or 
in Theaetetus, p. 333, b. 25); and 
I think that they accommodate Plato 
to Aristotle, in such manner as to ob- 
scure the real antithesis which Plato 
insists upon in the SophistSs I mean 
the antithesis according to which Plato 

excludes what is evavriov TOV OVTOS, 

and admits only what is Tepo> TOU 


Hitter gives an account (Gesch. der 
Philos. part ii. pp, 288-289) of Plato's 

doctrine in the Sophist3s respecting 
Non-Ens , but by no means an ade- 
quate account. K. F. Hermann also 
omits (Geschichte und System der Pla- 
tonischen Philos pp 504-505-507) to 
notice the discrepancy between the 
doctrine of the SophisteX and the doc- 
trine of the Republic, and Thewittus, 
respecting TO ^ ov though he pro- 
nounces elsewhere that the Republic 
is among the most indisputably posi- 
tive of all Plato's compositions (p. 536). 

1 Socher, p. 266 ; Schleiermacher^ 
Einleitung zum Sophistes, p. 134 ; 
Cousin, (Euvres de Platon, vol. xi. 517, 

Schleiermacher gives this as little 
more than a conjecture ; and distinctly 
admits that any man may easily sup- 
pose the doctrine ascribed to these 
Friends of Forms to be Plato's own 
doctrine" Nicht zu verwundern ware 
es, wenn Mancher auf den Gedanken 
kame, Platon meinte hier sich selbst 
und seine eigene Lehre," &c. 

But most of the subsequent critics 
have taken up Schleiennacher's con- 
jecture (that the Megarici are intended), 
as if it were something proved and 

It is curious that while Schleiermacher 
thinks that the opinions of the Megaric 
philosophers are impugned and refuted 
in the Sophist6s, Socher fancies that the 
dialogue was composed by a Megaric 




is that between Ens or Entia on one side, and Fientia (the 
transient, ever generated and ever perishing), on the other : 
between the' eternal, unchangeable, archetypal Forms or Ideas- 
and the ever-changing flux of particulars, wherein approximative 
likeness of these archetypes is imperfectly manifested. Now it is 
exactly this antithesis which the Friends of Forms in the 
Sophistes are represented as upholding, and which the Eleate 
undertakes to refute. 1 We shall find Aristotle, over and over 
again, impugning the total separation or demarcation between 
Ens and Fientia (&; yeyecrts 1 ^copto-ra), both as the charac- 
teristic dogma, and the untenable dogma, of the Platonic philo- 
sophy : it is exactly the same issue which the Eleate in the 
Sophistes takes with the Friends of Forms. He proves that Ens 
is just as full of perplexity, and just as difficult to understand, as 
Non-Ens : 2 whereas, in the other Platonic dialogues, Ens is 

philosopher, not by Plato. Ueberweg 
(Aechtheit der Platon. Schr. pp. 275- 
277) points out as explicitly as Socher, 
the discrepancy between the Sophist6s 
and several other Platonic dialogues, 
in respect to what is said about Forms 
or Ideas. But he draws a different infer- 
ence : he infers from it a groat change 
in Plato's own opinion, and he considers 
that the Sophist6s is later in its date of 
composition than those other dialogues 
which it contradicts. I think this opi- 
nion about the late composition of the 
SophisteX is not improbable ; but the 
premisses are not sufficient to prove it 

My view of the Platonic Sophistes 
differs from the elaborate criticism on 
it given by Steinhart (Einleitung zum 
Soph. p. 417 seq.) Moreover, there is 
one assertion in that Einleitung which 
I read with great surprise. Steinhart 
not only holds it for certain that the 
Sophistes was composed after the Par- 
menidfis, but also affirms that it solves 
the difficulties propounded in the Par- 
menides discusses the points of diffi- 
culty "in the best possible way" ("in 
der wnnschenwerthesten Weise" (pp. 

I confess I cannot find that the dif- 
ficulties started in the Parmenids are 
even noticed, much less solved, in the 
Sophistes. And Steinhart himself tells 
us that the Parmenide's places us in a 
circle both of persons and doctrines 
entirely different from those of the 
Sophiste's (p. 472). It is plain also 

that the other Platonic commentators 
do not agree, with Steinhart in finding 
the Sophiste's a key to the Parraenidfia : 
for most of them (Ast, Hermann, 
Zollor, Stallbamn, Rrandis, <fec.) con- 
sider the Parmenidfts to have been 
composed at a later date than the 
Sophist&s (as Ktcinhart himself inti- 
mates ; compare his Kinleitung zum 
Parmenides, p 31'2 seq.). Ueberweg, 
the most recent enquirer (posterior to 
Stcinhart), regards the Parmenide's as 
the latest of all Plato's compositions 
if indeed it be genuine, of which he 
rather doubts. (Anchtheit der Platon. 
Schrift. pp 182- 18S.) 

M. Mallet (Hiutoire de 1'tfcole de 
Megare, Jntrod. pp. xl.-lviii., Paris, 
1845) differs from all the three opinions 
of Schleiermacher, Hitter, and Socher. 
He thinks that the philosophers, de- 
signated as Friends of Forms, are in- 
tended for the Pythagoreans. His 
reasons do not satisfy me. 

i Plato, Sophist, pp. 246 B, 248 B. 
The same opinion is advanced by 
Sokrates in the Republic, v. p. 479 
B-C. Phsedon, pp. 78-79. Compare 
Sophist, p. 248 C with Symposion, p 
211 B. In the former passage, rb 
TrocrYciv is affirmed of the Ideas: in 
the latter passage, rb if6.<r\eiv n-n&tv. 

a Plato, SophM. p. 245 E. Yet he 
afterwards talks of rb \afiirpbv TOW 
OVTOS ael as contrasted with rb CTKQ- 
retv&v TOV /XT) OPTO?, p. 254 A, which 
seems not consistent. 




constantly spoken of as if it were plain and intelligible. In fact, 
he breaks down the barrier between Ens and Fientia, by includ- 
ing motion, change, the moving or variable, among the world of 
Entia. 1 Motion or Change belongs to Fieri ; and if it be held 
to belong to Esse also (by recognising a Form or Idea of Motion 
or Change, as in the Sophistes), the antithesis between the two, 
which is so distinctly declared in other Platonic dialogues, dis- 
appears. 2 

If we examine the reasoning of the Eleate, in the Sophistes, 
The persona a g ainst the persons whom he calls the Friends of 
whom Plato Forms, we shall see that these latter are not Parmeni- 
as Friends deans only, but also Plato himself in the Phsedon, 
Republic, and elsewhere. We shall also see that the 
ground, taken up by the Eleate, is much the same 
as that which was afterwards taken up by Aristotle 
against the Platonic Ideas. Plato, in most of his 
dialogues, declares Ideas, Forms, Entia, to be eternal 
substances distinct and apart from the liux and move- 
ment of particulars : yet he also declares, neverthe- 
less, that particulars have a certain communion or participation 
with the Ideas, and are discriminated and denominated according 
to such participation. Aristotle controverts both these doctrines : 

of Forms 
are those 
who held 
the same 
as Plato 
in Pha>don, 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 249 B. "Ipsse 
iclepe per se siinplices sunt et immuta- 
biles : sunt seternse, ac semper fuerunt 
ab omni liberte mutatione," says Stall- 
baum ad Platon. Republ. v. p. 476; 
see also his Prolegg. to the Parmenide's, 
pp. 39-40. This is the way in which 
the Platonic Ideas are presented in 
the Timaeus, Republic, Phtedon, &c., 
and the way in which they are con- 
ceived by the ei&wv <JuAoi in the 
SophisteX whom the Eleate seeks to 

Zeller's chapter on Plato seems to 
me to represent not so much what we 
read in the separate dialogues, as the 
attempt of an able and ingenious man 
to bring out something like a con- 
sistent and intelligible doctrine which 
will do credit to Plato, and to soften 
down all the inconsistencies (see 
Philos. der Griech. voL ii. pp. 394- 
415-429 ed. 2nd). 

2 See a striking passage about the 
unchangeableness of Forms or Ideas 

in the Kratylus, p. 439 D-E ; also 
PhilSbus, p. 15. 

In the Pannenidfis (p. 132 D) the 
supposition TO, clSrj to-rai^at ev ryj <vcrei 
is one of those set up by Sokrates and 
impugned by Parmenides. Neverthe- 
less m an earlier passage of that 
dialogue Sokrates is made to include 
Ktvrjcrts and OTCUTIS among the eiSvj 
(p. 129 E). It will be found, however, 
that when Parmenides comes to ques- 
tion Sokrates, What f"i8i} do you re- 
cognise? attributes and subjects only 
(the latter with hesitation) are in- 
cluded : no such thing as actions, pro- 
cesses, events TO iroielv <al irdo-Xfiv 
(p. 130). In Republic, vii. 529 D, 
we find mention made of TO 6^ TO^O? 
and ^ o3<ra /3pa8vrr}$, which implies 
KtV>jo-ts as among the ec&j. In Thesetet. 
pp. 152 D, 156 A, Ktvrjo-is is noted as 
the constituent and characteristic of 
Fieri TO yiyvfaevov which belongs 
to the domain of sensible perception, 
as distinguished from permanent and 
unchangeable Ens. 


first, the essential separation of the two, which he declares to be 
untrue : next, the participation or coming together of the two 
separate elements which he declares to be an unmeaning fiction 
or poetical metaphor, introduced in order to elude the conse- 
quences of the original fallacy. 1 He maintains that the two (Entia 
and Fientia Universals and Particulars) have no reality except 
in conjunction and implication together ; though they are 
separable by reason (\6yco ^CO/HO-TO T<$ etj/at, x<*P l(TT( *) or abstrac- 
tion, and though we may reason about them apart, and must 
often reason about them apart. 2 Now it is this implication and 
conjunction of the Universal with its particulars, which is the 
doctrine of the Sophistes, and which distinguishes it from other 
Platonic dialogues, wherein the Universal is transcendentalized 
lodged in a separate world from particulars. No science or 
intelligence is possible (says the Eleate in the Sophistes) either 
upon the theory of those who pronounce all Ens to be constant 
and unchangeable, or upon that of those who declare all Ens to 
be fluent and variable. We must recognise both together, the 
constant and the variable, as equally real and as making up the 
totality of Ens. 3 This result, though not stated in the language 
which Aristotle would have employed, coincides very nearly 
with the Aristotelian doctrine, in one of the main points on 
which Aristotle distinguishes his own teaching from that of his 

That the Eleate in the Sophistes recedes from the Platonic 
point of view and approaches towards the Aristotelian, The Sophia- 
will be seen also if we look at the lesson of logic which fr^ e th e les 
he gives to Theaite'tus. In his analysis of a proposi- Platonic 

,. i T . i . 7- point of 

tion and in discriminating such conjunctions of view, and 

1 Aristot. Metaphys. A. 991-992. *al TO, vroAAa eiSrj Ae-voWon/ rb irav 

2Aristot. Metaph. vi. 1038, a-b. ecmj/cos aTroSfyevOa.!,, fntv re afl irav- 

The Scholion of Alexander here (p. ra\-ij TO ov KIVOVVTWV /uwjfie rb irapdirav 

763, b. 36, Brandis) is clearer than oicoifeu" aAAa Kara ri)v r>v iraCSwv 

Aristotle himself. To -rrpoKti^vov ecrrt evxn v > 6~ a <** ^rd re Kal /ceKtVTj/ueVa, 

5etat a>? ovSZv rStv KadoAou ovcria rb ov re KCU rb irav, ^vvafi<f)6repa 

emv ovre yap 6 ica06Aov avflpwiros i} Aeveiv. 

6 Ka06Aov *7rTT05, ovre aAAo ovfieV Ritter states the result of this por- 

aAA' enavrov avrStv 8ta>/otas a IT 6- tion of the Sophiste's correctly. ft Es 

/aa^is eorrtj/ a7rb rStv K.O.&* eKa<rra bleibt uns als Ergebniss aller dieser 

Kal fl-pwrois leal /*dArra Ayoja^i/wv ov- Untersuchungen ilber das Seyn, dass 

criuv Kal 6/moiw/uta. die Wahrheit sowohl des Werdens, als 

3 Plato, Sophist, p. 249 C-D. Ttp ST^ auch des beharrlichen Seyns, aner- 

(/>iAocr64>&> Kal ravra /xaAiora Ttju.wvTt kannt werden musse " (Geschichte der 

rraa-a avayxij 6ia ravra /U.JJT* rStv $v y Philos. ii. p. 281). 


approaches words as are significant, from such as are insignificant 
theAristo- . . i* T, i J.-L j i i 

telian. he places himself on the same ground as that which 

is travelled over by Aristotle in the Categories and the treatise 
De Interpretation. That the handling of the topic by Aristotle 
is much superior, is what we might naturally expect from the 
fact that he is posterior in time. But there is another difference 
between the two which is important to notice. Aristotle deals 
with this topic, as he does with every other, in the way of 
methodical and systematic exposition. To expound it as a whole, 
to distribute it into convenient portions each illustrating the 
others, to furnish suitable examples for the general principles 
laid down are announced as his distinct purposes. Now Plato's 
manner is quite different. Systematic exposition is not his 
primary purpose : he employs it tip to a certain point, but as 
means towards another and an independent purpose towards 
the solution of a particular difficulty, which has presented itself 
in the course of the dialogue. " Nosti morem dialogorum" Ari- 
stotle is demonstrative : Plato is dialectical. In our present 
dialogue (the Sophistes), the Eleate has been giving a long 
explanation of Non-Ens ; an explanation intended to piove that 
Non-Ens was a particular sort of Ens, and that there was there- 
fore no absurdity (though Parmenides had said that this was 
absurdity) in assuming it as a possible object of Cognition, Opiria- 
tion, Affirmation. He now goes a step farther, and seeks to show 
that it is, actually and in fact, an object of Opination and Affir- 
mation. 1 It is for this purpose, and for this purpose only, that 
he analyses a proposition, specifies the constituent elements 
requisite to form it, and distinguishes one proposition from 

Accordingly, the Eleate, after pointing out that neither a 
string of nouns repeated one after the other, nor a string of verbs 
so repeated, would form a significant proposition, declares that 
the conjunction of a noun with a verb is required to form one ; 
and that oyination is nothing but that internal mental process 
which the words of the proposition express. The smallest pro- 
position must combine a noun with a verb : the former signi- 
fying the agent, the latter, the action or thing done. 2 Moreover, 

i Plato, Sophist, p. 261 D- 2 piato, Sophist, p. 262 C. 


the proposition must be a proposition of something ; and it must 
be of a certain quality. By a proposition of something, Plato 
means, that what is called technically the subject of the proposi- 
tion (in his time there were no technical terms of logic) must be 
something positive, and cannot be negative : by the quality of 
the proposition, he means that it must be either true or false. 1 

This early example of rudimentary grammatical or logical 
analysis, recognising only the two main and principal ^^^tle as . 
parts of speech, is interesting as occurring prior to sumes with- 
Aristotle ; by whom it is repeated in a manner more that P there 
enlarged, systematic, 2 and instructive. But Aristotle a ^sitlons 
assumes, without proof and without supposing that true, others 
any one will dispute the assumption that there are a se ' 
some propositions true, other propositions false : that a name or 
noun, taken separately, is neither true nor false : 3 that proposi- 
tions (enunciations) only can be true or false. 

The proceeding of Plato in the Sophistes is different. He sup- 
poses a Sophist who maintains that no proposition plato in the 
either is false or can be false, and undertakes to prove Sophistes 

. , , . , , . , , PI i has under- 

against him that there are false propositions : he taken an 

farther supposes this antagonist to reject the evidence taS^He 8 

of sense and visible analogies, and to acknowledge no could not 

f ,,,.,, . \ ' , i 1-1 have proved, 

proof except what is furnished by reason and philoso- against his 

phical deduction. 4 Attempting, under these rcstric- Adversary 
tions, to prove his point, Plato's Eleatic disputant that there 

, ,. i T-. ,. . I.IT are false 

rests entirely upon the peculiar meaning which he propo- 
prof esses to have shown to attach to Non-Ens. He sitions - 

i Plato, Sophist, p. 262 E. Aoyoi/ aSvvarov cannot be affirmed. But if 

OLVO.yKa.lov, orav irep $, TII/OS elfcu A6yoi>, we take JUTJ TIS in its proper sense of 

fiTfl Se rive?, aSvvarov . . . OVKOVV negation, the a.Svva.rov will be so far 

Kai -jroiov nva aurbvetj/at Set; Compare true that OVK avQpwTros, ov eotrrjTos, 

p. 237 E. cannot be the subiect of a proposition. 

In the words here cited Plato un- Aristotle says the same in the begin- 
consciously slides back into the ordi- ning of the Treatise De Interpreta- 
nary acceptation of w n : that is, to tione (p. 16, a. 30). 
/uw? in the sense of negation. If we 2 Aristotel. De Interpr. init. with 
adopt that peculiar sense of p} which Scholia of Ammonius, p. 98, Bekk. 
the Eleate has taken so much pains to 3 in the Kratylus of Plato Sokrates 
prove just before in the case of TO w maintains that names may be true or 
ov (that is. if we take /un as signifying false as well as propositions, pp. 385 D, 
not negation but simply difference), 431 B. 

the above argument wm not hold. If 4 Plato, Sophist, p. 240 A. It de- 
n's signifies one subject (A), and 017 serves note that here Plato presents to 
ris signifies simply another subject (B) us the Sophist as rejecting the evidence 
different from A (erepoiO, the predicate of sense : in the Theaete'tus he presents 


applies this to prove that Non-Ens may be predicated as well as 
Ens : assuming that such predication of Non-Ens constitutes a 
false proposition. But the proof fails. It serves only to show 
that the peculiar meaning ascribed by the Eleate to Non-Ens is 
inadmissible. The Eleate compares two distinct propositions 
Thecetetus is sitting down TJiecetetus is flying. The first is true : 
the second is false. Why ? Because (says the Eleate) the first 
predicates Ens, the second predicates Non-Ens, or (to substitute 
his definition of Non-Ens) another Ens different from the Ens 
predicated in the first. 1 But here the reason assigned, why the 
second proposition is false, is not the real reason. Many propo- 
sitions may be assigned, which predicate attributes different from 
the first, but which are nevertheless quite as much true as the 
first. I have already observed, that the reason why the second 
proposition is false is, because it contradicts the direct testimony 
of sense, if the persons debating are spectators : if they are not 
spectators, then because it contradicts the sum total of their pre- 
vious sensible experience, remembered, compared, and generalised, 
which has established in them the conviction that no man does 
or can fly. If you discard the testimony of sense as unworthy 
of credit (which Plato assumes the Sophist to do), you cannot 
prove that the second proposition is false nor indeed that the 
first proposition is true. Plato has therefore failed in giving 
that dialectic proof which he promised. The Eleate is forced to 
rely (without formally confessing it), on the testimony of sense, 
which he had forbidden Thesotetus to invoke, twenty pages 
before. 2 The long intervening piece of dialectic about Ens and 
Non-Ens is inconclusive for his purpose, and might have been 
omitted. The proposition Thecetetns is flying does undoubtedly 
predicate attributes which are not as if they were, 3 and is thus 

to us the Sophist as holding the doc- is checked by the Eleate, pp. 239-240. 

trine eTriemj/ATf = aicrffycns. How these It is in p. 261 A that the Eleate begins 

propositions can both be true respect- his proof in refutation of the supposed 

ing the Sophists as a class I do not Sophist that Sofa and \6yos may be 

understand. The first may be true false. The long interval between the 

respecting some of them ; the second two is occupied with the reasoning 

may be true respecting others ; respect- about Ens and Non-Ens. 

ing a third class of them : neither may ^ 3 Plato, Sophist, p. 263 E. ra. ^ 

be true. About the Sophists in a body ovra <us ovra \ey6n,eva, &c. 

there is hardly a single proposition The distinction betweeh these two 

which can be safely affirmed. propositions, the first as true, the second 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 263 C. as false (Thesete'tus is sitting down, 

2 TheostQtus makes this attempt and Theaettus is flying), is in noway con- 


false. But then we must consult and trust the evidence of our 
perception : we must farther accept are not in the ordinary sense 
of the words, and not in the sense given to them by the Eleate 
in the Platonic Sophiste's. His attempt to banish the specific 
meaning of the negative particle, and to treat it as signifying 
nothing more than difference, appears to me fallacious. 1 

In all reasoning, nay in all communication by speech, you 
must assume that your hearer understands the mean- What must 
ing of what is spoken : that he has the feelings of be assumed 
belief and disbelief, and is familiar with those forms lectio dis- 
of the language whereby such feelings are expressed : CUHSion - 
that there are certain propositions which he believes in other 
words, which he regards as true : that there arc certain other 
propositions which he disbelieves, or regards as false : that he 
has had experience of the transition from belief to disbelief, arid 
vice versd in other words, of having fallen into error and after- 
wards come to perceive that it was error. These are the mental 
facts realised in each man and assumed by him to be also realised 
in his neighbours, when communication takes place by speech. 
If a man could be supposed to believe nothing, and to disbelieve 
nothing ; if he had no forms of speech to express his belief, dis- 
belief, affirmation, and denial no information could be given, 
no discussion would be possible. Every child has to learn this 
lesson in infancy ; and a tedious lesson it undoubtedly is. 2 
Antisthenes (who composed several dialogues) and the other 

nected with the distinction which K<X! oi OVTW? air aiS evrot 

Plato had so much insisted upon be- ?x ei rLV - *<*< pov, Be- 

fore respecting the intercommunion of Compare respecting this paradox or 

Forms, Ideas, General Notions, &c., 0e'<ri? of Antisthenes, the scholia of 

that some Forms will come into com- Alexander on the passage of Aristotle's 

munion with each other, while others Topica above cited, p. 259, b. 15, in 

will not (pp. 252-253). Schol. Bekk. 

There is here no question of repug- If Antisthenes admitted only iden. 

nancy or intercommunion of Forms : tical predications, of course TO avn\e- 

the question turns upon the evidence -yen/ became impossible. I have en- 

of vision, which informs us that Thete- deavoured to show, in a previous note 

tStus is sitting down and not stand- on this dialogue, that a misconcep- 

in up or flying. If any predicate be tion (occasionally shared even by 

affirmed of a subject, contrary to what Plato) of the function of the copula, 

is included in the definition of that lay at the bottom of the Antis- 

subject, then indeed repugnancy of thenean theory respecting identical 

Forms might be urged. predication. Compare Aristotel. Phy. 

-, , A ^ A OCTTJ sic. i. p. 185, b. 28, together with 

1 Plato, Sophist, p. 257 B. the Sc if ii a of simplikius, pp. 329- 

2 Aristotel. Metaphys. vii. 1043, b. 330, ed. Bekk., and Plato, Sophisms, 

25. <TT r) djropia tjv oi 'AimfftfeVetoi p. 245. 


disputants of whom we are now speaking, must have learnt the 
lesson as other men have : but they find or make some general 
theory which forbids them to trust the lesson when learnt. It 
was in obedience to some such theory that Antisthenes discarded 
all predication except essential predication, and discarded also 
the form suited for expressing disbelief the negative proposi- 
tion : maintaining, That to contradict was impossible. I know 
no mode of refuting him, except by showing that his fundamental 
theory is erroneous. 

Discussion and theorising can only begin when these processes, 

partly intellectual, partly emotional, have become 

and?he< n established and reproducible portions of the train of 

rising pre- mental association. As processes, they are common 

suppose i / / 

belief and to all men. But though two persons agree in having 
expressed the feeling of belief, and in expressing that feeling by 
of words rmS one ^ orm ^ P ro P os iti n ~~ a l so i n having the feeling of 
disbelief, and in expressing it by another form of pro- 
position yet it does not follow that the propositions 
which these two believe or disbelieve are the same. 
How far such is the case must be ascertained by com- 
parison by appeal to sense, memory, inference from analogy, 
induction, feeling, consciousness, &c. The ground is now pre- 
pared for fruitful debate : for analysing the meaning, often con- 
fused and complicated, of propositions : for discriminating the 
causes, intellectual and emotional, of belief and disbelief, and for 
determining how far they harmonise in one mind and another : 
for setting out general rules as to sequence, or inconsistency, or 
independence, of one belief as compared with another. To a 
certain extent, the grounds of belief and disbelief in all men, and 
the grounds of consistency or inconsistency between some beliefs 
and others, will be found to harmonise : they can be embodied 
in methodical forms of language, and general rules can be laid 
down preventing in many cases inadvertence or erroneous com- 
bination. It is at this point that Aristotle takes up rational 
grammar and logic, with most profitable effect. But he is obliged 
to postulate (what Antisthenes professed to discard) predication, 
not merely identical, but also accidental as well as essential to- 
gether with names and propositions both negative and affir- 


mative. 1 He cannot avoid postulating thus much : though he 
likewise postulates a great 'deal more, which ought not to be 

The long and varied predicamental series, given in the 
Sophiste's, illustrates the process of logical partition, p recepte 
as Plato conceived it, and the definition of a class- and exam- 
name founded thereupon. You take a logical whole, fogjcafnar- 
and you subtract from it part after part until you tr^tSin * 
find the qucesitum isolated from every thing else. 2 the Sophia- 
But you must always divide into two parts (he says) 
wherever it can be done : dichotomy or bipartition is the true 
logical partition : should this be impracticable, trichotomy, or 
division into the smallest attainable number of parts, must be 
sought for. 8 Moreover, the bipartition must be made according 
to Forms (Ideas, Kinds) : the parts which you recognise must be 
not merely parts, but Forms : every form is a part, but every 
part is not a form. 4 Next, you must draw the line of division as 
nearly as you can through the middle of the dividendum, so that 
the parts on both sides may be nearly equal : it is in this way 
that your partition is most likely to coincide with forms on both 
sides of the line. 5 This is the longest way of proceeding, but the 
safest. It is a logical mistake to divide into two parts very 
unequal : you may find a form on one side of the line, but you 
obtain none on the other side. Thus, it is bad classification to 
distribute the human race into Hellenes -f Barbari : the Barbari 
are of infinite number and diversity, having no one common form 
to which the name can apply. It is also improper to distribute 
Number into the myriad on side, and all other numbers on the 
other for a similar reason. You ought to distribute the human 

i See the remarks in Ariatotel. Aristotle calls Antisthenes and his 

Metaphys. r. 1005, b. 2, 1006, a. 6. followers airattevrot, in the passage 

He calls it airaiSewia. aTraiSevcri'a rwv cited in the preceding note. 

ava\vTiK<av not to be able to dis- ^ % Plato, JPolitikus, p. 268 1). /x^po? 

tinguish those matters which can be ael /mepovs a<J>aipov/u.ej/ovs ir' axpov C^IK- 

proved and require to be proved, from veto-flat rb ^r\rov^vov. 
those matters which are true, but Ueberweg thinks that Aristotle, when 

require no proof and are incapable of he talks of al yey^a^fj.evo.t. diatpeaei?, 

being proved. But this distinction alludes to these logical distributions in 

has been one of the grand subjects of the SophistSs and Politikus (Aechtheit 

controversy from his day down to the der Platon. Schr. pp. 153-154). 
present day ; and between different 3 Politik. p. 287 C. 
schools of philosophers, none of whom * Politik. p. 263 C. 
would allow themselves to deserve the 8 Politik. pp. 262 B, 265 A. 6el 

epithet of oTrai'Seuroi. joteflroTO/aeii/ w's fidA.t<rra, &C. 


race into the two forms, Male Female : and number into the 
two, Odd Even. 1 So also, you must not divide gregarious 
creatures into human beings on one side, and animals on the 
other ; because this last term would comprise numerous particu- 
lars utterly disparate. Such a classification is suggested only by 
the personal feeling of man, who prides himself upon his intelli- 
gence. But if the classification were framed by any other intelli- 
gent species, such as Cranes, 2 they would distinguish Cranes on 
the one side from animals on the other, including Man as one 
among many disparate particulars under animal. 

The above-mentioned principle dichotomy or bipartition 
Eecommen- into two equal or nearly equal halves, each resting 
logical f upon a characteristic form is to be applied as far as 
bipartition. it will go. Many different schemes of partition upon 
this principle may be found, each including forms .subordinated 
one to the other, descending from the more comprehensive to the 
less comprehensive. It is only when you can find no more parts 
which are forms, that you must be content to divide into parts 
which are not forms. Thus after all the characteristic forms, for 
dividing the human race, have been gone through, they may at 
last be partitioned into Hellenes and Barbari, Lydians and non- 
Lydians, Phrygians and non-Phrygians : in which divisions there 
is no guiding form at all, but only a capricious distribution into 
fractions with separate names 8 meaning by capricious, a dis- 
tribution founded on some feeling or circumstance peculiar to 
the distributor, or shared by him only with a few others ; 
such as the fact, that he is himself a Lydian or a Phrygian, &c. 

These precepts in the Sophist^s and Politikus, respecting the 
Precepts process of classification, are illustrated by an impor- 
mu.strated tant passage of tlie Phngbus : 4 wherein Plato tells us 
Phiiebus. that the constitution of things includes the Deter- 
minate and the Indeterminate implicated with each other, and 
requiring study to disengage them. Between the highest One, 
Form, or Genus and the lowest array of indefinite particulars 

1 PolitikUS, p. 262 D-E. ruv ervto-0eVnoi/. 

2 Politikus, p. 263 D. a-e^vvvov avro 4 Plato, PhilSbus, pp. 16-17. 

eavro, dec. The notes of Dr. Baclhain upon this 

3 Politikus, p. 262 E. AvSovs 8e r} passage in his edition of the Phiiebus. 

<3>pvyas n rii/ay erepovs rrpbs airavra^ p. 11, should be consulted as a JUSu 

rarrtav a7r6cr^toi TOTC^ TJI/IKC^ aTropot correction of Stallbauni in regard to 

ta KCU plpo$ upiV/eii> cKarcpof ire'pa; and TWV c e*ttVu>y. 


there exist a certain number of intermediate Ones or Forms, each 
including more or fewer of these particulars. The process of 
study or acquired cognition is brought to bear upon these inter- 
mediate Forms : to learn how many there are, and to discri- 
minate them in themselves as well as in their position relative to 
each other. But many persons do not recognise this : they 
apprehend only the Highest One, and the Infinite Many, not 
looking for any thing between : they take up hastily with some 
extreme and vague generality, below which they know nothing 
but particulars. With knowledge thus imperfect, you do not get 
beyond contentious debate. Real, instructive, dialectic requires 
an understanding of all the intermediate forms. But in descend- 
ing from the Highest Form downwards, you must proceed as 
much as possible in the way of bipartition, or if not, then of tri- 
partition, &c. : looking for the smallest number of forms which 
can be found to cover the whole field. When no more forms can 
be found, then and not till then, you must be content with 
nothing better than the countless indeterminate particulars. 

This instructive passage of the Phil e bus while it brings to 
view a widespread tendency of the human mind, to pass from the 
largest and vaguest generalities at once into the region of particu- 
lars, and to omit the distinctive sub-classes which lie between 
illustrates usefully the drift of the Sophistes and Politikus. Ill 
these two last dialogues it is the method itself of good logical 
distribution which Plato wishes to impress upon his readers : the 
formal part of the process. 1 With this view, he not unly makes 
the process intentionally circuitous and diversified, but also 
selects by preference matters of common sensible experience, 
though in themselves indifferent, such as the art of weaving, 2 

The reasons given for this preference deserve attention. In 
these common matters (he tells us) the resemblances j mni ^ an ^ a 

. - Aiiiporuinc/c 

upon which Forms are founded are perceived by of founding 

sense, and can be exhibited to every one, so that the pJJStion 

form is readily understood and easily discriminated. 2jJ l J^ m " 

The general terms can there be explained by reference perceived 

to sense. But in regard to incorporeal matters, the y sense ' 

1 He states this expressly, Politik. p. 286 D. 

2 Plato, Politik. p. 285 D. 


higher and grander topics of discussion, there is no corresponding 
sensible illustration to consult. These objects can be appre- 
hended only by reason, and described only by general terms. 
By means of these general terms, we must learn to give and 
receive rational explanations, and to follow by process of reason- 
ing from one form to another. But this is more difficult, and 
requires a higher order of mind, where there are no resemblances 
or illustrations exposed .to sense. Accordingly, we select the 
common sensible objects as an easier preparatory mode of a pro- 
cess substantially the same in both. 1 

This explanation given by Plato, in itself just, deserves to be 
Province of compared with his view of sensible objects as know- 
coption^is*" a ^ e > anc ^ ^ sense as a sonrce f knowledge. I noticed 
not so much in a preceding chapter the position which Sokrates is 
by Plato made to lay down in the Thesetetus, 2 That (aio-Qrjcris) 
isTinthe* sensible perception reaches only to the separate im- 
Thesetatus. pressions of sense, and does not apprehend the like- 
ness and other relations between them. I have also noticed the 
contrast which he establishes elsewhere between Esse and Fieri : 
i.e., between Ens which alone (according to him) is knowabk,, 
and the perpetual flux of Fientia which is not knowable at all, 
but is only matter of opinion or guess-work. Now in the dia- 
logue before us, the Politikus, there is no such marked antithesis 
between opinion and knowledge. Nor is the province of alcrdrja-is 
so strictly confined : on the contrary, Plato here considers sen- 
sible perception as dealing with Entia, and as appreciating re- 
semblances and other relations between them. It is by an 
attentive study and comparison of these facts of sense that Forms 
are detected. "When a man (he says) has first perceived by 
sense the points of communion between the Many, he must not 
desist from attentive observation until he has discerned in that 
communion all the differences which reside in Forms : and when 

1 Plato, Politik. pp. 285 E 286 A. di/0pu>7rovs eipyacrju.Voi/ efapyws, off 8eix- 

TOVS 7T\euTTOVS A.e'A>j0ei^oTi jols /met/ TWI> 0eVro, &C. 

ovTtav p<fSuc Karajuafleti/ atcrflijTcu rives About the nSwAov tlpyacrfjitvov CVOQ- 

6/*otoTi)T6s ire^vKcwri*', as ovSei> x aX *T*' Y*i which is affirmed m one of thesfc 

8tf\ovv, orav OVT&V ns /3ovAi)0Tj TO> Adyoi' two cases and denied in the other, 

aiTovvTt rrept TOV juwj jmera irpaynarw compare a striking analogy in the 

d\Aa ^b>pl? Adyov p^Siws epSeta<rdat Phsedrus, p. 250 A-E. 
rots 5 aft fxeyicrrots o5<ri icat rt/uuu>Ta* 2 Plato, Theaet. pp. 185-186. See* 

rots OVK ecrrii/ *l5<a\ov ovfiei/ trpb? TOVS above p. 161. 


he has looked at the multifarious differences which are visible 
among these Many, he must not rest contented until he has con- 
fined all such as are really cognate within one resemblance, tied 
together by the essence of one common Form." l 

These passages may he compared with others of similar import 
in the Phsedrus. 2 Plato here considers the Form, not comparison 
as an Entity per se separate from and independent of of the 
the particulars, but as implicated in and with the with the 
particulars : as a result reached by the mind through Pn8edrus - 
the attentive observation and comparison of particulars : as 
corresponding to what is termed in modern language abstraction 
and generalisation. The self-existent Platonic Ideas do not 
appear in the Politikus : 3 which approximates rather to the 
Aristotelian doctrine : that is, the doctrine of the universal, 
logically distinguishable from its particulars, but having no 
reality apart from them (x copter Xoyo> povov). But in other dia- 
logues of Plato, the separation between the two is made as 
complete as possible, especially in the striking passages of the 
Republic : wherein we read that the facts of sense are a delusive 
juggle that we must turn our back upon them and cease to 
study them and that we must face about, away from the sensible 
world, to contemplate Ideas, the separate and unchangeable 
furniture of the intelligible world and that the whole process of 
acquiring true Cognition, consists in passing from the higher to 
the lower Forms or Ideas, without any misleading illustrations 
of sense. 4 Here, in the Sophists and Politikus, instead of 
having the Universal behind our backs when the particulars are 
before our faces, we see it in and amidst particulars : the illustra- 
tions of sense, instead of deluding us, being declared to conduce, 

i Plato, Politikus, p. 285 B. Wo*, and it is just, though I do not at 

OTCLV /aei/ rrji/ r&v wo\\tav TIS irp6repov all concur in his general view of 

aZotfTjTai KOLinovia.v, HT/J n-poeu/ucTTacrflai the Politikus, wherein he represents 

irplv av kv avrfj ras fiia</>opas t8fj Tracra? the dialogue as intended to deride the 

bir6a-at Trep ei/ eie<rt KCIVTCU ' rot? 6 a3 Megaric philosophers. 

iravToSatro.? di/o/utotOTijTas, orav v irAij. 4 See the Republic, V. pp. 476-479, 

flean/ o4>du><ri, jw,ij Svvarbv eli/eu Svo-umov- vi. pp. 508-510'511, and especially the 

nevov 7rav'<?<70at, irplv av (v^iravra ra memorable simile about the cave and 

oiKela. evrbs fiias o/moio-njTos epfas ytvovs the shadows within it. in Book vii. pp. 

TWOS over4> 7repi/3aA>jTeu. 518-619, together with the irepiayioyri 

2plato,Ph8cdrus,p P .249C,265D-E. which he there ^rescribes-aTrb TOU 

' *^ ' yiyvofievov ei? rb oV and the remarks 

3 This remark is made by Stallbaum respecting observations in astronomy 

in his Prolegg. ad Politician, p. 81 ; and acoustics, p. 529. 



wherever they can be had, to the clearness and facility of the 
process. 1 Here, as well as in the Phoedrus, we find the process of 
Dialectic emphatically recommended, but described as consisting 
mainly in logical classification of particulars, ascending and 
descending divisions and conjunctions, as Plato calls them 2 
analysis and synthesis. We are enjoined to divide and analyse 
the larger genera into their component species until we come to 
the lowest species which can no longer be divided : also, con- 
versely, to conjoin synthetically the subordinate species until the 
highest genus is attained, but taking care not to omit any of the 
intermediate species, in their successive gradations. 8 Throughout 
all this process, as described both in the Phsedrus and in the 
Politikus, the eye is kept fixed upon the constituent individuals. 
The Form is studied in and among the particulars which it com- 
prehends : the particulars are looked at in groups put together 
suitably to each comprehending Form. And in both dialogues, 
marked stress is laid upon the necessity of making the division 
dichotomous ; as well as according to Forms, and not according 
to fractions which are not legitimate Forms. 4 Any other method, 
we are told, would be like the wandering of a blind man. 

What distinguishes the Sophiste's and Politikus from most 
other dialogues of Plato, is, that the method of logical classifica- 
tion is illustrated by setting the classifier to work upon one or a 
few given subjects, some in themselves trivial, some important. 
Though the principles of the method are enunciated in general 
terms, yet their application to the special example is kept con- 
stantly before us ; so that we are never permitted, much less 
required, to divorce the Universal from its Particulars. 

As a dialogue illustrative of this method, the Politikus (as I 

i Compare the passage of the Phae- in the Phsednis for his attachment 

drira (p. 263 A-C) where Plato dis- to dialectics, that he may become 

tinguishes the sensible particulars on competent in discourse and in wis- 

which men mostly agree, from the dom (iv olds re & Afyei xal <i>po- 

abstractions (Just and Unjust, &c., vet?), is the same as that which 

corresponding with the do-wjuara, *a\- the Eleate assigns in recommenda- 

Atcrra, fWyterra, rifuurara, Politikus, tion of the logical exercises in the 

p. 286 A) on which they are perpetu- Politikus. 

vovs aitrb &p$v . . . icaAa> SiaXtunitovs. 4 Plato. PhdrUS, pp. 265 E, 270 E. 

The reason which Sokrates gives COIKOI a.v oxnrep TV<J>AOV iropeup. 


have already pointed out) may be compared to the comparison 

Phsedrus : in another point of view, we shall find . f k the ^9}J - 

instruction in comparing it to the Parmenide's. This the Panne- 

last too is a dialogue illustrative of method, but of a mdes< 
different variety of method. 

What the Sophiste*s and Politikus are for the enforcement of 
logical classification, the Parmenides is for another 

part of the philosophising process laborious evolu- method in 
tion of all the consequences deducible from the affir- 

mative as well as from the negative of every hypo- Diversity 
thesis bearing upon the problem. And we note the 
fact, that both in the Politikus and Parmenides, Plato manifests 
the consciousness that readers will complain of him as prolix, 
tiresome, and wasting ingenuity upon unprofitable matters. 1 In 
the Parmenide's, he even goes the length of saying that the 
method ought only to be applied before a small arid select 
audience ; to most people it would be repulsive, since they can- 
not be made to comprehend the necessity for such circuitous 
preparation in order to reach truth. 2 

i Plato, Politikus, p. 283 B. irnb? lixity is unavoidable, pp. 285 C, 
6rj TO v6<rrnj.a TO TOIOVTOI/, and the 28fi B-E. 



I HAVE examined in the preceding sections both that which the 
ThePoliti- SophistSs and Politikus present in common (viz. a 
kus by it- lesson, as well as a partial theory, of the logical pro- 
fromlSuf cesses called Definition and Division) and that which 
Sophistes. the Sophias presents apart from the Politikus. I 
now advert to two matters which we find in the Politikus, but 
not in the Sophist&s. Both of them will be found to illustrate 
the Platonic mode of philosophising. 

I. Plato assumes, that there will be critics who blame the two 
dialogues as too long and circuitous ; excessive in 
Sato on respect of prolixity. In replying to those objectors, 1 
5o n8U oi ^ e elM l u i res > What is meant by long or short exces- 
jectsmea- sive or deficient great or little? Such expressions 
Snsteach denote mensuration or comparison. But there are 
other. Ob- two varieties of mensuration. We may measure two 
pared with objects one against the other : the first will be called 
standard" 8 reat or reater > i n relation to the second the second 
in each Art, will be called little or less in relation to the first, 
tobeat^ ^ But we may also proceed in a different way. We 
standard! 116 ma y assume some third object as a standard, and tjien 
measure both the two against it : declaring the first 
to be great, greater, excessive, &c., because it exceeds the standard 
and the second to be little, less, deficient, &c., because it falls 
short of the standard. Here then are two judgments or estima- 
tions altogether different from each other, and yet both denoted 
by the same words great and little : two distinct essences (in Pla- 

1 The treatment of this subject intimates that the coming remarks are 
begins, Politik. p. 283 C, where Plato of wide application. 


tonic phrase) of great and little, or of greatness and littleness. 1 
The art of mensuration has thus two varieties. One includes 
arithmetic and geometry, where we simply compare numbers 
and magnitudes with each other, determining the proportions, 
between them : the other assumes some independent standard ; 
above which is excess, and below which is deficiency. This 
standard passes by different names according to circumstances : 
the Moderate, Becoming, Seasonable, Proper, Obligatory, &c. 2 
Such a standard is assumed in every art in every artistic or 
scientific course of procedure. Every art has an end to be 
attained, a result to be produced ; which serves as the standard 
whereby each preparatory step of the artist is measured, and 
pronounced to be either excessive or deficient, as the case may 
be. 3 Unless such a standard be assumed, you cannot have 
regular art or science of any kind ; neither in grave matters, nor 
in vulgar matters neither in the government of society, nor in 
the weaving of cloth. 4 

Now what is the end to be attained, by this our enquiry into 
the definition of a Statesman ? It is not so much to 
solve the particular question started, as to create in the 
ourselves dialectic talent and aptitude, applicable to p 

every thing. This is the standard with reference to T attain 

i . , . . , . , . . , , , dialectic 

which our enquiry must be criticised not by regard aptitude. 

to the easy solution of the particular problem, or to g^clarcfof 

the immediate pleasure of the hearer. And if an Comparison 

objector complains, that our exposition is too long or judge 6 y 

our subject-matters too vulgar we shall require him means^n? 6 

to show that the proposed end might have been ployed are 

attained with fewer words and with more solemn 8Ultable - 
illustrations. If he cannot show this, we shall disregard his 
censure as inapplicable. 5 

1 Plato, Politik. p. 283 E. Sir rat fessor Alexander Bain in his work 
apa rcLvray overt a? /cat Kpftretf TOV on The Senses and The Intellect, 3rd 
(jLcya.\ov ical TOV crjuKpov Qer4ov. edition, p. 93. This explanation forms 

2 Plato, Politik. p. 284 B. rb HCT- an item in the copious enumeration 
ptov, TO irpejrov, TOV Kaip6v, rb Seov, given by Mr. Bain of the fundamental 
&c. sensations of our nature. 

The reader will find these two Plato, Politik. p. 283 D. Kara 

varieties of mensuration, here dis- TTJI/ TTJS ywlcrecdv ivaynaiav ovtrtai/. 

tinguished by Plato, illustrated in the 284 A-C. TTOOS r\v TOV juerpt'ov Wi/eo-tv. 
" two distinct modes of- appreciating 4 Plato, Politik. p. 284 C. 
weight" (the Absolute and the Eela- & Plato, Politik pp. 286 D, 287 A. 

tive), described and explained by Pro- Compare Plato, PhilSbus, p. 36 D. 


The above-mentioned distinction between the two varieties of 
Plato's de- mensuration or comparison, is here given by Plato, 
fence of the simply to serve as a defence against critics who cen- 
Politikus i .I. v .,. /? xi_ -n vx-i -IM. 

against cri- sured the peculiarities of the Politikus. It is not 

sity tliatthe P lirRUe< i ^ farther applications. But it deserves 
critic shall notice, not merely as being in itself just and useful, 
plititly ex " but as illustrating one of the many phases of Plato's 
standard of phil so phv- It is an exhibition of the relative side of 
comparison Plato's character, as contra-distinguished from the 
1S ' absolute or dogmatical : for both the two, opposed as 

they are to each other, co-exist in him and manifest themselves 
alternately. It conveys a valuable lesson as to the apportion- 
ment of praise and blame. " When you blame me " (he says to 
his critics), " you must have in your mind some standard of 
comparison upon which the blame turns. Declare what that 
standard is : what you mean by the Proper, Becoming, Mode- 
rate, &c. There is such a standard, and a different one, in every 
different Art. What is it here 1 You must choose this standard, 
explain what it is, and adhere to it when you undertake to praise 
or blame." Such an enunciation (thoroughly Sokratic *) of the 
principle of relativity, brings before critics the fact which is 
very apt to be forgotten that there must exist in the mind of 
each some standard of comparison, varying or unvarying, well or 
ill understood : while at the same time it enforces upon them the 
necessity of determining clearly for themselves, and announcing 
explicitly to others, what that standard is. Otherwise the pro- 
positions, affirming comparison, can have no uniform meaning 
with any two debaters, nor even with the same man at different 

To this relative side of Plato's mind belong his frequent com- 
Comparison mendations of measurement, numbering, computation, 
^toPro^ US com P ar i son > & c - I* 1 ^ ne Protagoras, 2 he describes the 
tagoras, art of measurement as the main guide and protector 
PWidbus, of human life : it is there treated as applicable to the 
&c - correct estimation of pleasures and pains. In the 

Phsedon, 3 it is again extolled : though the elements to be cal- 
culated are there specified differently. In the Philebus, the 

i Xenophon. Memorab. Hi. 8, 7, iii. 2 Plato, Protagor. p. 867 B. 
10, 12. s Plato, Phsedon, p. 69 B. 


antithesis of Uepas and *Airipov (the Determinant or Limit, and 
the Indeterminate or Infinite) is one of the leading points of the 
dialogue. We read in it moreover a bipartite division of Men- 
suration or Arithmetic, 1 which is quite different from the bipartite 
division just cited out of the Politikus. Plato divides it there 
(in the Philejbus) into arithmetic for theorists, and arithmetic for 
practical life : besides which, he distinguishes the various practi- 
cal arts as being more or less accurate, according as they have 
more or less of measurement and sensible comparison in them. 
Thus the art of the carpenter, who employs measuring instru- 
ments such as the line and rule is more accurate than that of 
the physician, general, pilot, husbandman, &c., who have no 
similar means of measuring. This is a classification quite diffe- 
rent from what we find in the Politikus ; yet tending in like 
manner to illustrate the relative point of view, and its frequent 
manifestation in Plato. In the Politikus, he seeks to refer praise 
and blame to a standard of measurement, instead of suffering 
them to be mere outbursts of sentiment unsystematic and un- 

II. The second peculiarity to which I call attention in the 
Politikus, is the definition or description there far- Definition 
nished of the character so-called : that is, the States- ofthestates- 
man, the King, Governor, Director, or Manager, of vernor. Sci- 
human society. At the outset of the dialogue, this ^ 
person is declared to belong to the Genus Men of Kratic point 
Science or of Art (the two words are faintly distin- ture 6pa pro- 
guished in Plato). It is possession of the proper f^toln* 
amount of scientific competence which constitutes a sub-divld- 
man a Governor : and which entitles him to be so 
named, whether he actually governs any society or not. 2 (This 
point of departure is purely Sokratic : for in the Memorabilia 
of Xenophon, 8 Sokrates makes the same express declaration.) 
The King knows, but does not act : yet he is not a simple critic 
or spectator he gives orders : and those orders are not suggested 

i Plato, PhilSbus, pp. 25 C, 27 D, noticed in another passage of the 

57. fivo dpt0/*TjTtKal ical 5vo Politikus, p. 258 D-E. 
Kai . . . r^ ScSv/wnjTa ^ov<rat ravr^, 2 Plato, Politikus, pp. 258 B, 259 B. 

OVOfJUtTOS Se f6? KKOlV<DfiVai. **wv, J. v/**u n. , w , 

This same bipartition, however, is 3 Xenophon, Memorab, iii 9, 10. 


to him by any one else (as in the case of the Herald, the Keleus- 
t&s, and others), 1 but spring from his own bosom and his own 
knowledge. Prom thence Plato carries us through a series of 
descending logical subdivisions, until we come to define the 
King as the shepherd and feeder of the flock of human beings. 2 
But many other persons, besides the King, are concerned in 
feeding the human flock, and will therefore be included in this 
definition : which is thus proved to be too large, and to require 
farther qualification and restriction. 8 Moreover the feeding of 
the human flock belongs to others rather than to the King. He 
tends and takes care of the flock, but does not feed it : hence the 
definition is, in this way also, unsuitable. 4 

Our mistake (says Plato) was of this kind. In describing the 
King during ^ n 8 or Governor, we have unconsciously fallen upon 
the Hatur- the description of the King, such as he was in the 
nian period . . n 1,1 i /. ^ 

of a breed Saturman period or under the presidency of Kronus ; 

thepeople an( * not suc ^ as * le * s * n tne P resenL period. Under 
not so any the presidency of Kronus, each human flock was 
onger. tended and governed by a divine King or GocJ, who 
managed every thing for it, keeping it happy and comfortable 
by his own unassisted agency : the entire Kosmos too, with its 
revolutions, was at that time under the immediate guidance of a 
divine mover. But in the present period this divine superin- 
tendence is withdrawn : both the entire Kosmos, and each 
separate portion of it, is left to its own movement, full of imper- 
fection and irregularity. Each human flock is now tended 
not by a divine King, as it was then ; but by a human King, 
much less perfect, less effective, less exalted above the constituent 
members. Now the definition which we fell upon (says Plato) 
suited the King of the Saturnian period ; but does not suit the 
King of the present or human period. 5 At the first commence- 
ment of the present period, the human flock, left to themselves 
without superintendence from the Gods, suffered great misery ; 
but various presents from some Gods (fire from Prometheus, arts 
from Hephaestus and Athene 1 , plants and seeds from Deinetdr) 

1 Plato, Politik. p. 260 C-E. rb n*v 3 Plato, Politik. p. 268. 
rv laonXfer 76** U *! aitwro*- 4 p]g ^ Politik( p . 2 75 D-E. 


2 Plato, Politik. pp. 267 B, 268 C. * Plato, Politik. pp. 274 A 275 B. 




rendered their condition more endurable, though still full of 
difficulty and hardship. 1 

i Plato, Politik. p. 274 C. 

Plato embodies these last-mentioned 
comparisons in an elaborate and re- 
markable my the theological, cosmical, 
zoological, social which occupies six 
pages of the Politikus (268 D 274 E). 
Meiners and Socher (Ueber Platen's 
Schriften, pp. 273-275) point out that 
the theology of Plato in this fable 
differs much from what we read in the 
Phacdon, Republic. &c. : and Socher 
insists upon such discrepancy as one of 
his arguments against the genuineness 
of the Politikus. I have already ob- 
served that I do not concur in his 
inference I do not expect uniformity 
of doctrine in the various Platonic 
dialogues : more especially on a subject 
so much beyond experience, and so 
completely open to the conjectures of 
a rich imagination, as theology and 
cosmogony. In the SophisteX pp 242- 
243, Plato had talked in a sort of 
contemptuous tone about those who 
dealt with philosophical doctrine in 
the way of ray the, as a proceeding fit 
only for boys : (not unlike the manner 
of Aristotle, when he speaks of ^oi 

fivOiKws trociicJ'd/w.ej'Oi TO. vntp ^fias, 
Metaphys. B. 1000, a. 15-18, A. 1071, 
b. 27) : while here, in the Politikus, 
he dilates upon what he admits to be a 
boyish mythe, partly because a certain 
portion of it may be made available in 
illustration of his philosophical purpose, 
partly because he wishes to enliven the 
monotony of a long-continued classifica- 
tion. Again, in the Pheedrus (p. 229 C), 
the PI atonic Sokratos is made to censure 
as futile any attempt to find rational 
explanations for the popular legends 
(<ro<f)iecrOat) : but here, in the Poli- 
tikus, the Bleate expressly adapts his 
theory about the backward and for- 
ward rotation of the Kosmos to the 
explanation of the popular legends 
about earthborn men, and about Helios 
turning back his chariot, in order to 
escape the shocking spectacle of the 
Thyestean banquet: which legends, 
when so explained, Plato declares that 
people would be wrong to disbelieve 
(ot vvv vnb troAAwi/ OVK opdox amcr- 
TOVVTCU, pp. 271 B, 268 A, B, C). 

The differences of doctrine and 
handling, between the various Pla- 
tonic dialogues, are facts not less 
worthy to be noted than the simi- 
larities. Here, in the mythe of the 

Politikus, we find a peculiar theolo- 
gical view, and a very remarkable 
cosmical doctrine the rotation and 
counter-rotation of the Kosmos. The 
Kosmos is here declared (as in the 
TIm.Tus) to be a living and intelligent 
Subject ; having received these mental 
gifts from its Denriurgus. But the 
Kosmos is also Body as well as Mind ; 
so that it is incapable of that constant 
sameness or uniformity which belongs 
to the Divine : Body having in itself an 
incurable principle of disorder (p. 269 
D). The Kosmos is perpetually in 
movement ; but its movement is only 
rotatory or circular in the same place : 
which is the nearest approximation to 
uniformity of movement. It does not 
always revolve by itbelf ; nor is it 
always made to revolve by the Divine 
Steersman (KujSepi'T/Trj?, p. 272 E), but 
alternately the one and the other. 
This Divine Steersman presides over its 
rotation for a certain time, and along 
with him many subordinate Deities 
or Da-mons ; until an epoch fixed 
by some unassigned destiny has been 
reached (p. 272 E). Then the Steers- 
man withdraws from the process to his 
own watch-tower (eis rw avrov ire- 
piwTrV), and the other Deities along 
with him. The KOHBIOS, being loft to 
itself, ceases to revolve in the same 
direction, and begins its counter rota- 
tion ; revolving by itself backwards, or 
in the contrary direction. By such 
violent revulsion many of the living 
inhabitants of the Kosmos are de- 
stroyed. The past phenomena are suc- 
cessively reproduced, but in an inverse 
direction the old men go back to ma- 
turity, boyhood, infancy, death : the 
dead are born again, and pa8 through 
their lives backwards from age to in- 
fancy. Yet the counter-rotation brings 
about not simply an inverted repro- 
duction of past phenomena, but new 
phenomena also : for we are told that the 
Kosmos, when left to itself, did toler- 
ably well as long as it remembered the 
Steersman's direction, but after a cer- 
tain interval became forgetful and went 
wrong, generating mischief and evil : 
so that the Steersman was at last forced 
to put his hand again to the work, and 
to impart to it a fresh rotation in his own 
direction (p. 273 B-D). The Kosmoa 
never goea satisfactorily, except when 
the hand of the Steersman is upon it. 




The human King, whom we shall now attempt to define, tends 
Distinction * ne human flock ; but there are other persona also 

of Causes 
and Causes 
The King is 
the only 
Cause, but 

to be prin 
cipal also. 

who assist in doing so, and without whose concurrent 
agency he could not attain his purpose. We may 
illustrate this by comparing with him the weaver of 
woollen garments : who requires many subsidiary and 
preparatory processes, performed by agents different 
from himself (such as the carder of wool, the spinner, 
and the manufacturer of the instruments for working 
the loom) to enable him to finish his work. In all 
matters, important as well as vulgar, two separate processes or 
arts, or contributory persons, are to be distinguished : Causes 
and Co-Causes, i.e., Principal Causes, and Concurrent, Auxiliary, 
Co-efficient, Subordinate, Causes. 1 The King, like the Weaver, 
is distinguishable, from other agents helping towards the same 
end, as a Principal Cause from Auxiliary Causes. 2 The Causes 
auxiliary to the King, in so far as they are inanimate, may be 
distributed roughly under seven heads (bipartition being here 

But we are -informed that there are 
varieties of this divine administration : 
one named the period of Kronus or 
Saturn ; another that of Zeus, &c. The 
present is the period of Zeus (p. 272 B). 
The period of Cronus was one of spon- 
taneous and universal abundance, under 
the immediate superintendence of the 
Deity. This Divine Ruler was infi- 
nitely superior to the subjects whom 
he ruled, and left nothing to be desired. 
But now, in the present period of Zeus, 
men are under human rule, and not 
divine : there is no such marked supe- 
riority of the Ruler to his subjects. 
The human race has been on the point 
of becoming extinct ; and has only oeen 
saved by beneficent presents from va- 
rious Godsfire from Prometheus, 
handicraft from Hephaestus and Athene 
(pp. 272 C, 274 C). 

All this prodigious bulk of mythical 
invention (Oav^.a.<rro<s oyKos, p. 277 B) 
seems to be introduced here for the 
purpose of illustrating the comparative 
ratio between the Ruler and his sub- 
jects ; and the material difference in this 
respect between King and Shepherd- 
between the government of mankind by 
kings, and that of flocks and herds by 
the herdsman. In attempting to define 
the True and Genuine Ruler (he lays 

it down), we can expect nothing better 
that a man among other men ; but 
distinguished above his fellows, so far 
as wisdom, dialectic, and artistic accom- 
plishment, can confer superiority. 

There is much in this copious mythe 
which I cannot clearly understand or 
put together : nor do I derive much 
profit from the long exposition of it 
given by Stallbaum (Proleg. ad Polit. 
pp. 100-128). We cannot fairly demand 
either harmonious consistency or pro- 
found meaning in the different features 
of an ingenious fiction. The hypothesis 
of a counter-rotation of the Kosmos 
(spinning like a top, en-l cr/ut/tppTaTov 
fialvov iroSb* te'vou, p. 270 A), with an 
inverted reproduction of past pheno- 
mena, appears to me one of the most 
singular fancies in the Greek mytho- 
logy. I cannot tell how far it may have 
been suggested by any such statement 
as that of the Egyptian priests (He- 
rodot. ii. 142). I can only repeat the 
observation made by Phsedrus to the 
Platonic Sokrates. in the dialogue 
Phaedrus (p. 275 A) : " You, Sokrates, 
construct easily enough Egyptian tales, 
or any other tales that you please ". 

1 Plato, Politik. p. 281 D-E. 

2 Plato, Politik. p. 287 D. 


impracticable) Implements, Vessel*?, Vehicles, Protections sur- 
rounding the Body, Eecreative Objects, Raw Material of every 
variety, Nutritive Substances, &C. 1 Other auxiliary Causes are, 
the domestic cattle, bought slaves, and all descriptions of serving 
persons ; being often freemen who iindertake, for hire, servile 
occupations and low trades. There are moreover ministerial 
officers of a higher grade : heralds, scribes, interpreters, prophets, 
priests, Sophists, rhetors ; and a great diversity of other func- 
tionaries, military, judicial, forensic, dramatic, &c., who manage 
different departments of public affairs, often changing from one 
post to another. 2 But these higher ministerial functionaries 
differ from the lower in this That they pretend to be themselves 
the directors and managers of the government, not recognising 
the genuine King : whereas the truth is, that they are only 
ministerial and subordinate to him : they are Concurrent 
Causes, while he is the only real or principal Cause. 3 

Our main object now (says the Eleate) is to distinguish this 
Eeal Cause from the subordinate Causes which are pj a to does 
mistaken for its partners and equals : the genuine * received 
and intelligent Governor, from those who pretend classiflca- 
falsely to be governors, and are supposed often to be vernment." 
such. 4 We cannot admit the lines of distinction, }uch the* 
which are commonly drawn between different govern- point upon 
ments, as truly logical : at least they are only subordi- tnuulis- 
nate to ours. Most men distinguish the government JJj^JJ, be 
of one, or a few, or the many : government of the founded 
poor or of the rich : government according to law, Unscienti- 0r 
or without law : by consent, or by force. The fic - 
different names current, monarchy or despotism, aristocracy, or 
oligarchy, &c., correspond to these definitions. But we hold 
that these definitions do not touch the true characteristic : which 
is to be found in Science, Knowledge, Intelligence, Art or scien- 

1 Plato, Politik. pp. 288-289. obscure jest deserves Stallbaum's com- 

2 Plato, Politik. pp. 290-291 B. Plato pliraent : " Ceterum lepidissiina hsec 
describes these men by comparing them est istorum hominum irrisio, qui cum 
to lions, centaurs, satyrs, wild beasts, leonibus, Centauris, Satyris, aliisque 
feeble and crafty. This is not very monstriscomparantur". Plato repeat* 
intelligible, but I presume that it it p. 303 C. 

alludes to the variety of functions, 8 P] f p ftHti v n 001 rs 
and the frequent alternation of func- 8 PIato ' Polltik ' p ' m G 
tions. I cannot think that such an 4 pi a to, Politik. p. 292 D. 


tific procedure, &c., and in nothing else. The true government 
of mankind is, the scientific or artistic : whether it be carried on 
by one, or a few, or many whether by poor or rich, by force or 
consent whether according to law, or without law. 1 This is 
the right and essential characteristic of genuine government : 
it is government conducted according to science or art. All 
governments not conforming to this type are only spurious 
counterfeits and approaches to it, more or less defective or 
objectionable. 2 

Looking to the characteristic here suggested, the Eleate pro- 

. fl nounces that all numerous and popular governments 

govern- must be counterfeits. There can be no genuine 

counter^ .government except by One man, or by a very^ small 

feits. Go- number at most. True science or art is not attain - 

vernment , , , , , , . , . 

by any nu- able by many persons, whether rich or poor : scarcely 

SS* U be > dy even ky a *" ew ' an( * P r bably by O ne alone ; since 
counterfeit, the science or art of governing men is more difficult 
Government ., .-, . 9 -r, , ,1 

by the one than any other science or art. 3 But the government 
man1s fi the ^ ^is One is the only true and right government, 
true govern- whether he proclaims laws or governs without law, 
men ' whether he employs severity or mildness provided 

only he adheres to his art, and achieves its purpose, the good and 
improvement of the governed. 4 He is like the true physician, 
who cuts and burns patients, % when his art commands, for the 
purpose of curing them. He will not be disposed to fetter him- 
self by fixed general laws : for the variety of situations and the 
fluctuation of circumstances, is so perpetual, that no law can 
possibly fit all cases. He will recognise no other law but his 
art. 5 If he lays down any general formula or law, it will only 
be from necessity, because he cannot be always at hand to watch 
and direct each individual case : but he will not hesitate to depart 
from his own formula whenever Art enjoins it. 6 That alone is 
base, evil, unjust, which he with his political Science or Art 
declares to be so. If in any particular case he departs from his 

i Plato, Politik. pp. 292 C, 293 B. 3 Plato, Politik. pp. 292 D-E, 207 B, 

8 " >b ESS P P K E - * . 

* otWs Ae*Te'oi>. * 'J Plato, Politik. pp. 300 C, 295 B-C. 



own declaration, and orders such a thing to be done the public 
have no right to complain that he does injustice. No patient 
can complain of his physician, if the latter, acting upon the 
counsels of his art, disregards a therapeutic formula. 1 All the 
acts of the true Governor are right, whether according or contrary 
to law, so long as he conducts himself with Art and Intelligence 
aiming exclusively to preserve the people, and to render them 
better instead of worse. 2 

How mischievous would it be (continues the Eleate) if we 
prescribed by fixed laws how the physician or the p<i xe( n aw8j 
steersman should practise their respective arts : if limiting the 
we held them bound to peremptory rules, punishing Governor, 
them whenever they departed from those rules, and JJuastl?ey 
making them accountable before the Dikastery, when would be for 
any one accused them of doing so : if we consecrated cianaiui the 
these rules and dogmas, forbidding all criticism or ^baiSiUy 
censure upon them, and putting to death the free of cietermin- 
enquirer as a dreaming, prosy, Sophist, corrupting waSkK/by 
the youth and inciting lawless discontent ! 3 How d ^ n ^ 
absurd, if we pretended that every citizen did know, every one to 
or might or ought to know, these two arts ; because now lfc ' 
the matters concerning them were enrolled in the laws, and 
because no one ought to be wiser than the laws 1 4 Who would 
think of imposing any such fetters on other arts, such as those of 
the general, the painter, the husbandman, the carpenter, the 
prophet, the cattle-dealer ] To impose them would be to render 
life, hard as it is even now, altogether intolerable. Yet these 
are the trammels under which in actual cities the political Art is 
exercised. 5 
Such are the mischiefs inseparable, in greater or less degree, 

1 Plato, Politik. p. 29G C-D. 

2 Plato, Politik. p. 297 A. 

3 Plato, Politik. pp. 298-299. 299 B: 
Kai roLvvv en 8erj<rei 0etr()cu v6fj,oi> eirl 
Traori TpvTOts, av ns Kv/3epn?TiK)iMcai TO 
vavriKov ij TO vyifivbv /cat ioTpi/cr}? aArj- 
Oeiav . . . 'r)Ttav t/miVijTat irapa TO. ypafA- 
lj.a.ra, Kai <ro$i<joju.ei'os ortovv rrepi Ta 
TotauTa, TrptoTo/- 1 /atv /UUJTC tarpiKov 

O.VTOV (LY/rc /CU/ScptTJTtKOl' OPOjKCUjetV , 

aAAa ueTewpoA.O'yoi' aSoh^ffxyv rtva 
<ro$icrTT)i> eta ws Sia^et'poi'Ta dAAovs 
vecoTe'pox/5 /cat avaTrei^oi'Ta etnriQea'Oa.t, 

KU/SepvrjTi/cfj, &C. 

4 Plato, Polit. p. 299 C. av 5e irapa 
TOIJS vo/iovs Kai TO. 56j? 
ireiOeiv etTe i/eovs etTe 7rpecrwTas^eo\a- 
et,v rots <rx.TOts. Qvdev yap 6eif TWV 
i/6/w,wv eti/ai cro<fxoTepo' ' ovSeVa -yap 
dyvpetj/ TO re iarpiKov Kai rb vyiewbv 
ovSe TO KvpepvyTiKOV KCU vavriKOV ' ef et- 
i/at yap Ttj> ^ouA.o/u.Vo fj.avQd.vtiv yeypa/x- 
/u.eVa /cat TraVpia e^rj /tet/xeva. 

8 Plato, Polit. p. 299 D-E. oia-Te 6 
^tos, &v <al vvv ^aAeTrds, eis Tbi^ ypovov 
enelvov dj3ta>TOS ytyi'OtT' av TO iraparray. 


from fixed and peremptory laws. Yet grave as these 
ment by mischiefs are, there are others yet graver, which such 
tetter tfmn 3 laws tend to obviate. If the magistrate appointed to 
lawless go- guard and enforce the laws, ventures to break or con- 

vernment f* . , ' ,, 

byunscien- travene them, simulating, but not really possessing, 
but vrorse the Art or Science of the genuine Ruler he will 
than law- make matters far worse. The laws at any rate are 
ment by such as the citizens have been accustomed to, and such 
men" It is as 8* ve a cer ^ a ^ n measure of satisfaction. But the 
a second- arbitrary rule of this violent and unscientific Gover- 
nor is a tyranny : l which is greatly worse than the 
laws. Fixed laws are thus a second-best : 2 assuming that you 
cannot obtain a true scientific, artistic, Governor. If such a man 
could be obtained, men would be delighted to live under him. 
But they despair of ever seeing such a character, and they there- 
fore cling to fixed laws, in spite of the numerous concomitant 
mischiefs. 3 These mischiefs are indeed so serious, that when we 
look at actual cities, we are astonished how they get on under 
such a system ; and we cannot but feel how firm and deeply 
rooted a city naturally is. 4 

We see therefore (the Eleate goes on) that there is no true 
Comparison polity nothing which deserves the name of a genuine 
fic UI o S vern- ti " P^ical society except the government of one chief, 
ments. The scientific or artistic. With him laws are superfluous 
isThelvorst. an d even inconvenient. All other polities are counter- 

teast ^ e ^ s : ^ ac ^ ons an( ^ cabals, rather than governments : 5 

bad.because delusions carried on by tricksters and conjurers. 
a govern. But among these other polities or sham polities, there 
ment. jg a ma terial difference as to greater or less badness : 

and the difference turns upon the presence or absence of good 
laws. Thus, the single-headed government, called monarchy 
(assuming the Prince not to be a man of science or art) is the 

1 Plato, Politik. p. 300 A-B, 301 6 Plato, Polit. pp. 302-303 B-C. TOV? 

B-C. KOtftoyovs TOVTCOV rtitv iro\LTfi!av iratrtav, 

2 Plato, Polit. p. 300 C. fietfrepos "ty, *** imffrjiu>wx , <^aipWov <I>s 
irAov?. OVK OVTO.S iroXiTiKOV? aAAa OTao-taorTi- 

ft * . -, ,.. om TV Kotfs, KCU etdcaXwv ueytVTcoi/ rrpo<rraTa$ 

3 PlatO, Polit. p. 301 D. % vr(t9 Ka i abroif tvat TOIOVTOVS, /u,eyt- 

4 Plato, Polit. p. 302 A. 17 e*ceti/o <TTOV? 8S fivra? /At/*rjTas Kai ^drjras 
r)fjuv 8a.VfJLa<rr^ov fAa\Xoi/, w larxvpov TL /aeyiVrov? yiyve<T0at rtov <ro<f><.<rTfov ero- 

<rrl ^vcret; ^taTay. 


best of all the sham-polities, if the Prince rules along with 
and in observance of known good laws : but it is the worst of 
them all, if he rules without such laws, as a despot or tyrant. 
Oligarchy, or the government of a few if under good laws, is 
less good than that of the Prince under the same circumstances 
if without such laws, is less bad than that of the despot. Lastly, 
the government of the many is less good under the one supposi- 
tion and less bad under the other. It is less effective, either 
for good or for evil. It is in fact less of a government : the 
administrative force being lost by dissipation among many hands 
for short intervals ; and more free play being thus left to indi- 
viduals. Accordingly, assuming the absence of laws, democracy 
is the least bad or most tolerable of the six varieties of sham- 
polity. Assuming the presence of laws, it is the worst of 
them. 1 

We have thus severed the genuine scientific Governor from 
the unworthy counterfeits by whom his agency is Th 
mimicked in actual society. But we have still to vernor dis- 
sever him from other worthier functionaries, analo- frolTthe 6 
sous and cognate, with whom he co-operates ; and to General, the 
i i i j. i ,. x- -i T JT- T_ i f Rhetor, &c. 

show by what characteristic he is distinguished from They are 

persons such as the General, the Judge, the Rhetor or 

Persuader to good and just objects. The distinction nates and 

,, , ., i 110 auxiliaries. 

is, that all these functions, however honourable func- 

tions, are still nevertheless essentially subordinate and minis- 
terial, assuming a sovereign guidance from some other quarter to 
direct them. Thus the General may, by his strategic art, carry 
on war effectively ; but he must be directed when, and against 
whom, war is to be carried on. The Judge may decide quarrels 
without fear, antipathy, or favour : but the general rules for 
deciding them must be prescribed to him by a higher authority. 
So too the Rhetor may apply his art well, to persuade people, or 
to work upon their emotions, without teaching them : but he 
must be told by some one else, when and on what occasions per- 
suasion is suitable, and when force must be employed instead of 
it. 3 Each of these functionaries must learn, what his own art 

1 Plato, Pollt. p. 302 B. rts $) T&V OVK bpQ&v woXtTtftAi/ rovrwv ij/eicrra x a ' 
\etri) <rv<JVii>, iracrwp YaA7rwv ovoxav, jeal Tt's fiapurarn ; Also p. 303 A-B. 

2 Plato, Polit. pp. 304-305. 


will not teach him, the proper seasons, persons, and limitations, 
among and under which his art is to be applied. To furnish such 
guidance is the characteristic privilege and duty of the scientific 
chief, for which he alone is competent. He does not act himself, 
but he originates, directs, and controls, all the real agents and 
agencies. Without him, none of them are available or bene- 
ficial towards their special ends. He alone can judge of their 
comparative value, and of the proper reasons for invoking or 
restraining their interference. 1 

The great scientific Governor being thus defined, and logically 
what the distinguished from all others liable to be confounded 
scientific with him, Plato concludes by a brief statement what 
w5i d? 01> He his principal functions are. He will aim at ensuring 
Mo\orma- fc among his citizens the most virtuous characters and 
tion of yir- the best ethical combinations. Like the weaver (to 
zens. S C He whom he has been already assimilated) he will put 
to-etherthe to ff etncr tne 8 rcat political web or tissue of improved 
energetic ' citizenship, intertwining the strong and energetic vir- 
Sw genSe * ^ ues ( tne warp) with the yielding and gentler virtues 
Natural dis- ^ G WOO 0- 3 Both tnese dispositions are parts or 
sidence be- branches of virtue ; but there is a natural variance or 
t ween them. repu i sion between them. 3 Each of them is good, in 
proper measure and season : each of them is bad, out of measure 
and season. The combination of both, in due proportion, is 
indispensable to form the virtuous citizen : and that combination 
it is the business of the scientific Governor to form and uphold. 
It is with a view to this end that he must set at work all the 
agents of teaching and education, and must even interfere to 
arrange the intermarriages of the citizens ; not allowing the 
strong and courageous families to form alliance with each other, 
lest the breed should in time become too violent nor the gentle 
and quiet families to do the like, lest the offspring should degene- 
rate into stupidity. 4 

All persons, who, unable to take on this conjunction, sin by an 

1 Plato, Polit. p. 305 D. rV yP aAAos rd rrpocrraxOevTa Spay. 
OVTWS oflo-av /3<x<rtA.tKV OVK avtV $ 2 Plato, Polit. pp. 306-307. T^V pacri- 

. ,. 

-rrpdrretv, yiyvta<ricov(ra.v rV apx^v re 3 Plato, Polit. pp. 306 A-B, 307 . 

jeal 6pf/.V TOJV (jicyCcrrotv ev rats irokecrtv 308 B. 
eyicatpt'as T *pi *at dxatpta?, T<X$ 6 ' 4 pJato, Polit. pp. 308-309-310. 


excess of the strong element, manifesting injustice or n a man 

irreligion must be banished or put to death : * all ms by^ex- 

who sin by excess of the feebler element, exhibiting energetic 

stupidity and meanness, must be degraded into slavery. f s e t?i^ ' e 

Above all things, the scientific Governor must himself }^ d h ^ . 

dictate, and must implant and maintain, in the minds if of the 

of all his citizens, an authoritative standard of ortho- gj ^made 8 

dox sentiment respecting what is just, honourable, asiave. The 

good and the contrary. 2 If this be ensured, and if must keep 

the virtues naturally discordant be attempered with SSnds^the 

proper care, he will make sure of a friendly and har- citizens an 

. . . it- unanimous 

monious community, enjoying as much happiness as standard 

human affairs admit" orthodoxy 

I have thus given a brief abridgment of the main purpose of 
the Politikus, and of the definition which Plato gives Remarks 
of the True Governor and his function. I proceed to iS^ 
make a few remarks upon it. to govern 

Plato's theory of government is founded upon the derived ex- 
supposition of perfect knowledge scientific or artistic J JjJJj^ 
intelligence in the person of the Governor : a partial tificsuperio- 
approach, through teaching and acquired knowledge, mdiviclual 
to that immense superiority of the Governor over the P erson 
Governed, which existed in the Saturnian period. It is this, and 
this alone, which constitutes, in his estimation, the title to govern 
mankind. The Governor does not himself act : he directs the 
agency of others : and the directions are dictated by his know- 
ledge. I have already observed that Sokrates had himself 
enunciated the doctrine Superior scientific competence (the 
special privilege of a professor or an artist) is the only legitimate 
title to govern. 

From Sokrates the idea passed both to Plato and to Xeno- 
phon : and the contrast between the two is shown Different 
forcibly by the different way in which they deal which this 
with it. Xenophon has worked it out on a large ideal is 

i Plato, Polit. p. 809 A. 2 piato, Polit. pp 809 C, 310 B. 

3 Plato, Polit. p. 311 B-C. 



worked out scale, in the Cyropaedia on a small scale, in the 
ancfxeno. (Economicus. Cyrus in the former, Ischomachus in 
SaTof The the latter > knows better than any one else what is 
speculation to be done, and gives orders accordingly. But both 
nS^of the one and the other are also foremost in action, 
action. setting example as well as giving orders to others. 
Now Plato, while developing the same idea, draws a marked line 
of distinction between Science and Practice : between direction 
and execution. 1 His scientific Governor does not act at all, but 
he gives orders to all the different men of action, and he is the 
only person who knows on what occasions and within what 
limits each agent should put forth his own special aptitude. 
Herein we discern one of the distinctions between these two viri 
Socratici : Xenophon, the soldier and man of action Plato, the 
speculative philosopher. Xenophon conceives the conditions of 
the True Governor in a larger way than Plato, for he includes 
among them the forward and energetic qualities requisite for 
acting on the feelings of the subject Many, and for disposing 
them to follow orders with cheerfulness and zeal : 2 whereas 
Plato makes abstraction of this part of the conditions, and postu- 
lates obedience on the part of the many as an item in his 
fundamental hypothesis. Indeed he perpetually presents us 
with the comparison of the physician, who cuts and burns for the 
purpose of ultimate cure. Plato either neglects, or assumes as a 
matter of course, the sentiments of the persons commanded, or 
the conditions of willing obedience ; while Xenophon dwells upon 
the maintenance of such sentiments as one of the capital difficul- 
ties in the problem of government. And we perceive a marked 
contrast between the unskilful proceedings of Plato, when he 
visited Dionysius II. at Syracuse, illustrating his (Plato's) 
inaptitude for dealing with a real situation and the judicious 
management of Xenophon, when acting as one of the leaders of 
the Cyreian army under circumstances alike unexpected and 
Plato here sets forth the business of governing as a special art, 

1 Plato, Polit. pp. 259 C-D, 305 D. we see the difference between the 

2 See the preface to Xenophon's Xenophontic idea, and the Platonic 
Cyropsedia ; also Cyropsed. i. 6, 20 ; idea, of 6 apxitos aj/flpcun-wi/, ol Ostoi al 
and his (Econ. C. 21, and C. 13, 4, where ayaBol xal m<rr/inove$ apxoi>TS. 


analogous to the special art of the weaver, the steers- 
man, the physician. Now in each special art, the mthePcai- 
requisite knowledge and competence is possessed only contradict 
by the one or few artists who practise them. The tion to that 
knowledge possessed by such one or few, suffices for wMclfis 
all the remaining community ; who benefit by it, but p^f^MUH 
are altogether ignorant on the matter, and follow in the 
orders blindfold. As this one Artist is the only com- 
petent person for the task, so he is assumed qua Artist, to be 
infallible in the performance of the task never to go wrong, nor 
to abuse his power, nor to aim at any collateral end. 1 Such is 
Plato's theory of government in the Politikus. But if we turn to 
the Protagoras, we shall find this very theory of government ex- 
plicitly denied, and a counter-theory affirmed, in the discourse 
put into the mouth of Protagoras. That Sophist is made to dis- 
tinguish the political or social art, upon which the possibility of 
constituting or keeping up human society depends, from all other 
arts (manual, useful, linguistic), by this express characteristic : 
All other arts were distributed among mankind in such 
manner, that knowledge and skill were confined to an exclusive 
few, whose knowledge, each in his own special department, 
sufficed for the service of all the rest, not favoured with the like 
knowledge but the political or social art was distributed (by 
order of Zeus to Hermes) on a principle quite opposite. It was 
imparted to every member of society without exception. If it 
had been granted only to a few, and not to all, society could not 
have held together. Justice and the sense of shame (Temperance 
or Moderation), which are the bonds of the city and the fruits of 
the political art, must be instilled into every man. Whoever 
cannot take on and appropriate them (Zeus proclaims it as his 
law), must be slain as a nuisance or distemper of the city. 2 

Such we have seen to be the theory enunciated by the Platonic 
Protagoras (in the dialogue so-called) respecting the points of 
political or social art. It pervades all the members ^ e ^^ 
of society, as a common and universal attribute, theory 
though each man has his own specialty besides. It cominon n 
was thus distributed at the outset by Zeus. It stands sentiment. 

1 Compare Plato, Republic, i. pp. 340-341. 2 Plato Protag. pp. 322, 325 A. 


embodied in the laws and in the unwritten customs, so that one 
man may know it as well as another. Every man makes open 
profession of knowing and possessing it : which he cannot do 
with any special art. Fathers enforce it on their children by 
rewards and punishments, schoolmasters and musicians impart it 
by extracts from the poets : the old teach it to the young : nay 
every man, far from desiring to monopolise it for himself, is for- 
ward in teaching it to others : for it is the interest of every one 
that his neighbour should learn it. Since every one thus teaches 
it, there are no professed or special teachers : yet there are still 
some few who can teach it a little better than others and among 
those few I (says Protagoras) am one. 1 

Whoever compares the doctrine of the Politikus 2 with the 
Counter- portion of the Protagoras 3 to which I have just re- 
thl e po y iiti- ferred > wil1 see that they stand to each other as theory 
kus. The and counter-theory. The theory in the Politikus sets 
of tteKicate asicte (intentionally or not) that in the Protagoras. 
Politikus ^ ie Pl aton i c Protagoras, spokesman of King Nomos> 
go much represents common sense, sentiment, sympathies and 
thoseof n antipathies, written laws, and traditional customs 
Protagoras. k llow ri to all as well as reverenced by the majority : 
the Platonic Politikus repudiates all these, as preposterous fetters 
to the single Governor who monopolises all political science and 
art. Let us add too, that the Platonic Protagoras (whom many 
commentators teach us to regard as a person of exorbitant arro- 
gance and pretensions) is a very modest man compared to the 
Eleate in the Platonic Politikus. For the former accepts all the 
written laws and respected customs around him, admits that 
most others know them, in the main, as well as he, and only 
professes to have acquired a certain amount of superior skill in 
impressing them upon others : whereas the latter sets them all 
aside, claims for himself an uncontradicted monopoly of social 
science and art, and postulates an extent of blind submission 
from society such as has never yet been yielded in history. 

The Eleate here complains of it as a hardship, that amidst a 

1 Plato, Protag. pp. 327-328. trine of which I have given a brief 

2 Plato, Politik. p. 301 E. abstract in the text. 
The portion of this dialogue, fiom < TJI * n ^ 

p. 296 to p. 302, enunciates the doc- 3 Plato Prota g- PP- 321-328. 


community actually established and existing, directed 
by written laws, traditional customs and common 

sentiment (the Protagorean model), he, the political Jj^pJS? 6 * 

artist, is interdicted from adverse criticism and out- tagorean 

spoken censure of the legal and consecrated doctrines, adverse 10 

If he talks as one wiser than the laws, or impugns criticism 

them as he thinks that they deserve, or theorises in The disseii- 

his own way respecting the doctrines which they comfenJned* 

sanction he is either laughed to scorn as a visionary. to silence or 

. to , .. , -11 P umsh ed. 

prosing, Sophist or hated, and perhaps punished, 

as a corruptor of youth ; as a person who brings the institutions 
of society into contempt, and encourages violators of the law. 1 

The reproach implied in these phrases of Plato is doubtless 
intended as an allusion to the condemnation of So- 
krates. It is a reproach well-founded against that at Athens, 
proceeding of the government of Athens : and would asei^e- 8 ^^ 

have been still better founded against other conteni- where. Plato 

, rp,, , ,, .,, . complains 
porary governments. That the Athenians were 111- of the as- 
tolerant, is not to be denied : but they were less SFmSit^ 
intolerant than any of their contemporaries. No- in existing 
where else except at Athens could Sokrates have gone but exacts it 
on until seventy years of age talking freely in the thatw^ich 
market-place against the received political and reli- he himself 

,1 mi r i / > constructs. 

gious orthodoxy. There was more free speech (Trap- 
prjo-ia) 2 at Athens than in any part of the contemporary world. 
Plato, Xenophon, and the other companions of Sokrates, pro- 
claimed by lectures and writings that they thought themselves 
wiser than the laws of Athens : yet though the Gorgias was in- 
tended as well as adapted to bring into hatred and contempt both 
those laws and the persons who administered them, the Athenian 
Rhetors never indicted Plato for libel. Upon this point, we can 

i Plato, w Politik. p. 299 B. av ns 2 gee Euripides, Ion, 671. 

. . . ^IJTUV <f>aii/i)T<u Trap a TO. ypaauara > ~ A a ~ r 

Kal <ro<K6jxeyos OTIOVV epl T* TOicS. * v A* 1 " <01 ' * >? Teow<r , yvj/*?, 

In ifche seventh book of Republic ws ^ V ei/olTO *"!Tpo*e* P pi,<rca. 

(p. 520 B). Platxj describes the position Also Euripid. Hippolyt. 424, and 

of the philosopher in an established Plato, Gorgias, p. 461 E, where So- 

society, springing up by his own in- krates says to Polus Scwa pevr av 

ternal force, against the opposition of wafloi?, el 'A0^j>ae a^tK^epo?, o$ TT} 

all the social influences ovTO/maTOt yap *EAAa5o5 wXetV-nj ecrrtv e^ovarta rov 
efj.<f)vovTai a/covcrrj? TJS v *ca<rT|j (woA-et) Ae'-yeiv, tiretra <ri> evravQa. TOVTOV f 
TroXtretas, &C. a.rvxq<ra.i.$ t &C. 


only speak comparatively : for perfect liberty of proclaiming 
opinions neither does now exist, nor ever has existed, any where. 
Most men have 110 genuine respect for the right of another to 
form and express an opinion dissentient from theirs : if they 
happen to hate the opinion, they account it a virtue to employ as 
much ill-usage or menace as will frighten the holder thereof into 
silence. Plato here points out in emphatic language, 1 the de- 
plorable consequences of assuming infallibility and perfection for 
the legal and customary orthodoxy of the country, and prohibiting 
free censure by dissentient individuals. But this is on the sup- 
position that the laws and customs are founded only on common 
sense and traditional reverence : and that the scientific Governor 
is among the dissenters. Plato's judgment is radically different 
when he supposes the case reversed : when King Nomos is 
superseded by the scientific Professor of whom Plato dreams, or 
by a lawgiver who represents him. We shall observe this when 
we come to the Treatise de Legibus, in which Plato constitutes an 
orthodoxy of his own, prohibiting free dissent by restrictions and 
penalties stricter than any which were known to antiquity. He 
cannot recognise an infallible common sense : but he has no 
scruple in postulating an infallible scientific dictator, and in 
enthroning himself as such. Though well aware that reasoned 
truth presents itself to different philosophers in different versions, 
he does not hesitate to condemn those philosophers who differ 
from him, to silence or to something worse. 

It will appear then that the Platonic Politikus distinguishes 
Theory of three varieties and gradations of social constitution, 
the Politi- 1. Science or Art. Systematic Construction from the 
pished beginning, based upon Theory. That which is directed 
tiSiscffpoit tyP tlie const ant supervision of a scientific or artistic 
ty. Gigantic Ruler. This is the only true or legitimate polity, 
individual -r> , 3 , . . -r, ,,. b T11 , , / 

force the Represented by Plato in Republic. Illustrated by 

worst. ^ e systematic scheme of weights, measures, apportion- 

ment of years, months, and days, in calendar put together on 
scientific principles by the French Convention in 1793 as con- 
trasted with the various local, incoherent, growths, which had 
obtained recognition through custom or arbitrary preference of 
unscientific superiors. 

i Plato, Polit. p. 299 E. 


2. Common Sense. Unsystematic Aggregate of Customs^ accepted 
in an Actual Society, That which is directed by written laws 
and fixed traditional customs, known to every one, approved by 
the common sense of the community, and communicated as well 
as upheld by the spontaneous teaching of the majority. King 

This stands for the second best scheme : the least objectionable 
form of degeneracy yet still a degeneracy. It is the scheme set 
forth by the Platonic Protagoras, in the dialogue so called. 
Eepresented with improvements by Plato in Treatise De Legibus. 

3. Gigantic Individual Force. That in which some violent 
individual not being really scientific or artistic, but perhaps 
falsely pretending to be so violates and tramples under foot the 
established laws and customs, under the stimulus of his own 
exorbitant ambition and unmeasured desires. 

This is put forward as the worst scheme of all : as the greatest 
depravation of society, and the greatest forfeiture of public as 
well as private happiness. We have here the proposition which 
Polus and Kallikles are introduced as defending in the Gorgias, 
and Thrasymachus in the Kepublic. In both dialogues, Sokrates 
undertakes to expose it. The great benefit conferred by King 
Nomos, is, that he protects society against the maximum of evil. 

Another interesting comparison may be made : that between 
the Politikus and the Republic. We must remember Com arison 
that the Politikus is announced by Plato as having of the Poll- 
two purposes. 1. To give a lesson in the method of th^E^ub- 
clefinition and division. 2. To define the charac- 1J c- Points 
teristic of the person bearing the name of Politikus, and'diffe? 
distinguishing him from all others, analogous or dis- ence * 
parate. The method is here more prominent than the doctrine. 

But in the Republic, no lesson of method is attempted ; the 
doctrine stands alone and independent of it. We shall find how- 
ever that the doctrine is essentially the same. That which the 
Politikus lays down in brief outline, is in the Republic amplified 
and enlarged ; presented with many variations and under diffe- 
rent points of view, yet, still at the bottom, the same doctrine, 
both as to affirmation and negation. The Republic affirms (as the 
Politikus does) the exclusive legitimacy of science, art, intelli- 
gence, &c., as the initiatory and omnipotent authority over all 


the constituent members of society : and farther, that such 
intelligence can have no place except in one or a few privileged 
persons. The Kepublic (like the Politikus) presents to us the 
march of society with its Principal Cause its concurrent or 
Auxiliary Causes and its inferior governable mass or matter, 
the human flock, indispensable and co-essential as a part of the 
whole scheme. In the Republic, the Cause is represented by the 
small council of philosophical Elders : the concurrent causes, by 
the Guardians or trained soldiers : the inferior matter, by the 
remaining society, which is distributed among various trades, 
providing for the subsistence and wants of all. The explanation 
of Justice (which is the ostensible purpose of the Republic) is 
made to consist in the fact That each one of these several parts 
does its own special work nothing more nothing less. Through- 
out all the Republic, a constant parallelism is carried on (often, 
indeed overstrained) between the community and the individual 
man. In the one as well as in the other, Plato recognises the 
three constituent elements, all essential as co-operators, but each 
with its own special function : in the individual, he recognises 
three souls (encephalic, thoracic, and abdominal) as corresponding 
to Elders, Guardians, and Producers, in the community. Here 
are the same features as thos"e given in outline in the Politikus : 
but the two higher features of the three appear greatly expanded 
in the Republic : the training and conditions proper for the 
philosophic Artist or Governor, and for his auxiliaries the 
Guardians, being described and vindicated at great length. 
Moreover, in the Republic, Plato not only repeats the doctrine * 
that the right of command belongs to every art in its own pro- 
vince and over its own subject-matter (which is the cardinal 
point in the Politikus) but he farther proclaims that each 
individual neither can exercise, nor ought to exercise, more than 
one art. He allows no double men or triple men 2 "Quam 
quisque novit artem, in ea se exerceat". He would not have 
respected the Xenophontic Cyrus or Ischomachus. He carries 
the principle of specialization to its extreme point. His Republic 

1 Plato, EepubL 1. p. 342 C. 'AAAa B 395-397 t E. OVK Sa-n Sen-Act)? av))p 

("V apxoucri y,af re'xvat "cat Kparouo-tv Trap' ^fjilv ovSe TroAXarrXov?, eireiSrj ea<r- 

cxeivov o$ trep etorl riyyoji. TOS ti> irpdrret (p. 397 E). 

3 Plato, Republ. U. pp. 370 B, 374 


is an aggregate of special artists and professional aptitudes : 
among whom the Governor is only one, though the first arid 
rarest. He sets aside the common basis of social endowments 
essential to every man : upon which each man's specialty is 
superinduced in the theory of the Platonic Protagoras. The 
only common quality which Plato admits is, That each man, 
and each of the three souls composing each man, shall do his own 
business and his own business only : this is his definition of 
Justice, in the Eepublic. 1 

Lastly, I will illustrate the Politikus by comparison with the 
Kratylus, which will be treated in the next chapter, comparison 
The conception of dictatorial science or art, which I . f the Poii- 
have stated as the principal point in the Politikus, theKraty- 
appears again in the Kratylus applied to a different Jovial con- a " 
subject naming, or the imposition of names. Right structive, 
and legitimate name-giving is declared to be an affair art, common 

of science or art, like right and legitimate polity : it 

can only be performed by the competent scientific or former to 

.... . i j.-u i -i i social ad- 

artistic name-giver, or by the lawgiver considered in ministra- 

that special capacity. The second title of the dialogue ^te^to the 
Kratylus is Ilepl 'Qvopar&v 'Optfor^ros On the Recti- formation 
tude or legitimacy of names. What constitutes right ftcatiorTof 
and legitimate Name-giving? In like manner, we names - 
might provide a second title for the Politikus Ilepl IloXiraa? 
'QpQoTTjTos On the rectitude or legitimacy of polity or sociality. 
What constitutes right or legitimate sociality ? 2 Plato answers 
It is the constant dictation and supervision of art or science or 
of the scientific, artistic, dictator, who alone knows both the End 
and the means. This alone is right and true sociality or 
sociality as it ought to be. So, if we read the Kratylus, we find 
Plato defining in the same way right Name-giving or name- 

1 Plato, Republ. iv. p. 433. Plato sometimes speaks as if a bad 

2 The exact expression occurs in TroAireta were no TroAireia at all as if 
Politikus, pp. 293 E, 294 A. vvv 8k a bad vo^o-i were no vd/Aos at all. See 
77817 $a.vfpov on TOUTO /BovAj(r<J/ji,e0a, rb above, vol. ii. ch. xiv. pp. 88, where 
trept TTJS riav avev v6p<t>v apx6vr<av bp66- I have touched on this point in re- 
TTJTO? SteA0eIV wag. viewing the Minos. This is a frequent 

The op0i?, a.\r)6ivT/i, yv>j<n'a, iroAiret'a, and perplexing confusion, but purely 

are phrases employed several times verbal. Compare Aristotel. Poht. iii. 

pp. 292 A-C, 293 B-E, 296 E, 297 B-D. 2, p. 1276, a. 1, where he deals with 

300 D-E: 6 aA0ii/6$, 6 ei/re^vps. 300 the like confusion p* el ^ Sucaitas 

E : TT)V aATj0ii>V tKcivyv, T^IV TOV epos uera * ' ' * ' 

T^xvi)? apxoiros iroXiTetai>. 802 A-E. 


giving as it ought to be. It is when each name is given by an 
artistic name- constructor, who discerns the Form of the name 
naturally suitable in each particular case, and can embody it in 
appropriate letters and syllables. 1 A true or right name signifies 
by likeness to the thing signified. 2 The good lawgiver discerns 
this likeness : but all lawgivers are not good : the bad lawgiver 
fancies that he discerns it, but is often mistaken. 3 It would be 
the ideal perfection of language, if every name could be made 
to signify by likeness to the thing named. But this cannot be 
realised : sufficient likenesses cannot be found to furnish an 
adequate stock of names. In the absence of such best standard, 
we are driven to eke out language by appealing to a second-lest, 
an inferior and vulgar principle approximating more or less to 
rectitude that is, custom and convention. 4 

We see thus that in the Kratylus also, as well as in the Politi- 
kus, the systematic dictation of the Man of Science or Art is 
pronounced to be the only basis of complete rectitude. Below 
this, and far short of it, yet still indispensable as a supplement in 
real life is, the authority of unsystematic custom or convention ; 
not emanating from any systematic constructive Artist, but 
actually established (often, no one knows how) among the com- 
munity, and resting upon their common sentiment, memory, and 

This is the true Platonic point of view, considering human 
Courage and affairs in every department, the highest as well as the 
aroassuiued l west > as subjects of Art and Science : specialization 
in the Poll- of attributes and subdivision of function, so that the 
notice taken business of governing falls to the lot of one or a few 

o f the highly qualified Governors : while the social edifice is 

doubts and b n. Ll T *.*.** ^ i - 

difficulties assumed to have been constructed from the beginning 

Lachs and by one ^ t-h ese Governors, with a view to consistent, 
Charmidgs. systematic, predetermined ends instead of that inco- 
herent aggregate 5 which is consecrated under the empire of law 

1 Plato. Kratylus, p. 388 E. Ov< 4 Plato, Kratyl. p. 435 B-C. 

apa Trai/rbs dvfipbs ovofia 0eV0ai earn/, So in the Protagoras (p. 828 A) 

dAAdrtvos oro/utarovpyou oflrosS' e<mv, we find the Platonic Protagoras com- 

s eoiKev, 6 vo/ao^-njs, <x S*> r>v STJ/UUOI/P- paring the self-originated and self- 

vwv <nr<mwTaTOS ev d>0pwn-oi yiyvtrtu. sustaining traditional ethics, to the 

Compare Politik. p. 292 D. traditional language rfe 8i8do-icaX6s 

2 Plato, Kratyl. pp. 430, 431 D, J<m roO 'EAAjFtot*; 

433 C 5 The want of coherence, or of re- 

Plato, Kratyl. pp. 431 E, 436 B. ference to any common and distinct 


and custom. Here in the Politikus, we read that the great 
purpose of the philosophical Governor is to train all the citizens 
into virtuous characters : by a proper combination of Courage 
and Temperance, two endowments naturally discordant, yet each 
alike essential in its proper season and measure. The inter- 
weaving of these two forms the true Eegal Web of social life. 1 

Such is the concluding declaration of the accomplished Eleatic 
expositor, to Sokrates and the other auditors. But this suggests 
to us another question, when we revert to some of the Platonic 
dialogues handled in the preceding pages. What are Virtue, 
Courage, Temperance? In the Menon, the Platonic Sokrates 
had proclaimed, that he did not himself know what virtue was : 
that he had never seen any one else who did know : that it was 
impossible to say how virtue could be communicated, until you 
knew what virtue was and impossible to determine any one of 
the parts of virtue, until virtue had been determined as a whole. 
In the Charmides, Sokrates had affirmed that he did not know 
what Temperance was ; he then tested several explanations there- 
of, propounded by Charmides and Kritias : but ending only in 
universal puzzle and confessed ignorance. In the Laches, he had 
done the same with Courage : not without various expressions of 
regret for his own ignorance, and of surprise at those who talked 
freely about generalities which they had never probed to the 
bottom. Perplexed by these doubts and difficulties which per- 
plexed yet more all his previous hearers, the modest beauty of 

End, among the bundle of established siders such a provision dangerous and 

No/at/uta is noted by Aristotle, Polit. intolerable to the governed. 

vii. 2, 1324, b. 5 : 610 *cai rS>v ir\xi<rn>v Aristot. Polit. if. 5, 1264, b. 6. 

i/opifiw X u6y, us el** ^tintvuv i piato, Polit. p. 306 A. 0o<riAue* 

rrapa rots 7rXeicTTOi9, o/ua>s, ei irov Tt, Trpos wvarkoitn &C 

fr ol rfpoc pxfoovcrt, TOV tpanlv **&& Schleiermacher in his Introduction 


insi g m ' ncant function, for the political 
Art f st determined and installed by so 
elaborate a method and classification. 

n n, 

L lons w \ e 4 .r? sanciy B t th diaio^e was a i rea dy so long 

those most essential .to ^the com- ^ H a to coSd nTweU [lengthen if 

mon security, and those which emanate b y going into fuUer details. Socher 

^^SrT^'SSLS 11 * 11 ** 1 ^"" 111 F ints out (Ueber Platen's Schrift. p. 

the minds of docile citizens.^ ^ 74) discre pancies between the Pofi- 

I<r6v TO i Kva/utovs TC 4>ayeiv t xe^aAa? tikus on one side, and Protagoras and 

re TOKYtw. Gorgias on the other which I think 

Aristotle dissents from Plato on the are really discoverable, though I do 

point of always vesting the governing not admit the inference which he 

functions -in the same hands. He con- draws from them. 


Charmides and the mature dignity of Nikias and Laches So- 
krates now finds himself in presence of the Eleate, who talks 
about Virtue, Temperance, Courage, &c., as matters determinate 
and familiar. Here then would have been the opportunity for 
Sokrates to reproduce all his unsolved perplexities, and to get 
them cleared up by the divine Stranger who is travelling on a 
mission of philosophy. The third dialogue, to be called the 
Philosophus, which Plato promises as sequel to the Sophist<3s 
and Politikus, would have been well employed in such a work of 

This, I say, is what we might have expected, if Plato had 
corresponded to the picture drawn by admiring com- 
mentators : if he had merely tied knots in one dia- 
culties in logue, in order to untie them in another. But we 
logues of find nothing of the kind, nor is such a picture of 
stimulate" Plato correct. The dialogue Philosophus does not 
the intellect exist, and probably was never written. ( Respecting 
hearer. His the embarrassments of the Menon, Laches, Char- 
doesnot 011 mi(1 es AlkibiadSs I., Protagoras, Euthyphron So- 
give solu- krates says not a word ov8e ypv to urge them upon 
the attention of the Eleate : who even alludes with 
displeasure to contentious disputants as unfair enemies. For the 
right understanding of these mysterious but familiar words 
Virtue, Courage, Temperance we are thrown back upon the 
common passive, unscientific, unreasoning, consciousness : or 
upon such measure and variety of it as each of us may have 
chanced to imbibe from the local atmosphere, unassisted by any 
special revelation from philosophy. At any rate, the Eleate fur- 
nishes no interpretative aid. He employs the words, as if the 
hearers understood them of course, without the slightest intima- 
tion that any difficulty attaches to them. Plato himself ignores 
all the difficulties, when he is putting positive exposition into the 
mouth of the Eleate. Puzzles and perplexities belong to the 
Dialogues of Search ; in which they serve their purpose, if they 
provoke the intellect of the hearer to active meditation and effort, 
for the purpose of obtaining a solution. 



THE dialogue entitled Kratylus presents numerous difficulties 
to the commentators : who differ greatly in their manner of 
explaining, First, What is its main or leading purpose ? Next, 
How much of it is intended as serious reasoning, how much as 
mere caricature or parody, for the purpose of exposing and re- 
ducing to absurdity the doctrines of opponents ? Lastly, who, if 
any, are the opponents thus intended to be ridiculed ? 

The subject proposed for discussion is, the rectitude or inherent 
propriety of names. How far is there any natural Persons and 
adaptation, or special fitness, of each name to the theSkmio 
thing named 1 ? Two disputants are introduced who Kratylus 

T id i , TT A^ Hokratos 

invoke bokrates as umpire. Hermogenes asserts the has no 

negative of the question : contending that each name for . m . e(1 

, . , . . opmion,but 

is destitute 01 natural significance, and acquires its is onlv a 

meaning only from the mutual agreement and habi- wlththe 
tual usage of society. 1 Kratylus on the contrary others, 
maintains the doctrine that eacli name has a natural rectitude 

1 In the arguments put into the society ; which purpose they would 
mouth of Herniogenes, he is made to not serve if each, individual gave a 
maintain two opinions which are not different name to the same object. The 
identical^ but opposed. 1. That names second opinion is therefore not a con- 
are significant by habit and conven- sequence of the first, but an implied 
tion, and not by nature. 2. That each contradiction of the first, 
man may and can give any name lie who says that the names Horse 
which he pleases to any object (pp. and Dog are significant by convention, 
384-385). t will admit that at the outset t they 

The first of these two opinions is might have been inverted in point of 

that which is really discussed here : signification ; but he will not say that 

impugned in the first half of the dia- any individual may invert them at 

logue, conceded in the second. It ia pleasure, now that they are esta- 

implied that names are to serve the blished. The purposes of naming 

purpose of mutual communication and would no longer be answered, if this, 

information among persons living in were done. 




or fitness for its own significant function : that there is an 
inherent bond of connection, a fundamental analogy or resem- 
blance between each name and the thing signified. Sokrates 
carries on the first part of the dialogue with Hermogenes, the 
last part with Kratylus. 1 He declares more than once, that the 
subject is one on which he is ignorant, and has formed no conclu- 
sion : he professes only to prosecute the search for a good conclu- 
sion, conjointly with his two companions. 2 

Sokrates, refuting Hermogenes, lays down the following doc- 
trines. 3 If propositions are either true or false, 
names, which are parts of propositions, must be true 
or false also. 4 Every thing has its own fixed and 

of Sokrates 

proceedings determinate essence, not relative to us nor varying 
according to our fancy or pleasure, but existing per se 
as nature has arranged. 5 All agencies either by one 
thing upon other things, or by other things upon it, are 
in like manner determined by nature, independent of 
our will and choice. If we intend to cut or burn any 
substance, we must go to work, not according to our 

of nature 
are con- 
ducted ac- 
cording to 
fixed laws- 
and naming 
among the 

1 The question between Hermo- 
genes and Kratylus was much debated 
among the philosophers and literary 
men throughout antiquity (Aul. Gelf. 
x. 4). Ongen says (contra Celsum, 
1. C. 24) Aoyos /3a0vs Kai aTropprfTOg b 
-rrepl </v<rea)s bvo/Jiartav, ir6repov t &>? 
oterat 'AptcrroTe'A.Tjs, 0e<ret ^eli/ai ra 
bv6jj,a.Ta., }, ws vofiujovcrii/ ot &iro TTJS 


Aristotle assumes the question in 
favour of 0e<rei, in his treatise De 
Interpretatione, without any reasoning. 
against the Platonic Kratylus ; but 
his commentators, Ammonius and 
Boethius, note the controversy as one 
upon which eminent men in antiquity 
were much divided. 

Plato connects his opinion, that 
names have a natural rectitude of 
signification, with his general doctrine 
of self-existent, archetypal, Forms or 
Ideas. The Stoics, and others who 
defended the same opinion afterwards, 
seem to have disconnected it from this 
latter doctrine. 

2 Plato, Kratyl. pp. 384 C, 391 A. 

3 Aristot. De Interpretat. ii. 1-2 : 
"Ovo/xa pel* otiv cirri $a>z/^ crij/Ltai/TK^ 
Kara a~uvdr)KV)V avev xp^ou ^ , f . rb 8e 
Kara owtfijfCTji', em <v<m r&v ofo/xaTwv 
ovfieV <&<rrtv, &C. 

This is the same doctrine which 
Plato puts into the mouth of Hermo- 
genes (Kratylus, p. 384 E), and which 
Sokrates himself, in the latter half of 
the dialogue, admits as true to a large 
extent : that is, he admits that names 
are significant Kara crw9-r) K Y)v, though 
he does not deny that they are or may 
be significant <v<rei. 

To awo TauTo/utarov (p. 397 A) is ano- 
ther phrase for expressing the opinion 

Opposed to bvofi,a.T(tiV 6p00TTjs. 

4 Plato, Kratyl. p. 385. 

Here too, Aristotle affirms the con- 
trary : he says (with far more exactness 
than Plato) that propositions alone are 
true or false; and that a name taken 
by itself is neither. (De Interpret. 
i. 2.) 

The mistake of Plato in affirming 
Names to be true or false, is analogous 
to that which we read in the Philgbus, 
where Pleasures are distinguished as 
true and false. 

5 Plato, Kratyl. p. 386 D. S^jXov 5^ 
on avro, avTwv ovtriav e\ov7a. nva. 
J3e'/3(u6> cOTTt TO. wpayiuaTa, ov Trpbs 
17/uas ovSe v<J>' r?/Aeoj>, eAKO/xej/a ai/w Jtal 
KaTto T<J> ^/lerepti) ^avTaoytaTt., AXAa Kad' 
avrd irrpos T^v OVTWV ov<riav e^o^ra fiirep 


own pleasure, but in the manner that nature prescribes : by 
attempting to do it contrary to nature, we shall do it badly or 
fail altogether. 1 Now speaking is one of these agencies, and 
naming is a branch of speaking : what is true of other agencies 
is true of these also we must name things, not according to our 
own will and pleasure, but in the way that nature prescribes that 
they shall be named. 2 Farther, each agency must be performed 
by its appropriate instrument : cutting by the axe, boring by the 
gimlet, weaving by the bodkin. The name is the instrument of 
naming, whereby we communicate information and distinguish 
things from each other. It is a didactic instrument : to be 
employed well, it must be in the hands of a properly qualified 
person for the purpose of teaching. 3 Not every man, but only 
the professional craftsman, is competent to fabricate the instru- 
ments of cutting and weaving. In like manner, not every man 
is competent to make a name : no one is competent except the 
lawgiver or the gifted name-maker, the rarest of all existing 
artists. 4 

To what does the lawgiver look when he frames a name ? 
Compare the analogy of other instruments. The The Name 
artisan who constructs a bodkin or shuttle for weav- is a didactic 
ing, has present to his mind as a model, the Idea or fabricated ' 

Form of the bodkin the self-existent bodkin of 

Nature herself. If a broken shuttle is to be replaced, the type of 

it is this Idea or type, not the actual broken instru- Formed" 

1 Plato, Kratyl. p. 387 A. Plato between naming and material 

2 Plato, Kratyl. p. 387 C-D. OVKOVV agencies, as if it were mere banter 
KOI TO bvoa&iv 7rpat's TI'S cor-rii/, eiTrep and even indifferent banter. Schleier- 

f rrpaf is TIS fy irepl ra, irpay- machor in his note thinks it seriously 
o-av ^/LUI/ meant and Platonic ; and I fully agree 
iva iSCav with him (Sehl. p. 456). 


/tiara; . ^. ^ Ai 6e 7rpdei$ e^a 

ov Trpbs TJ/*a? ouaai, aAA' avr>v ri 

. . . 

<J>v0-ti> exovoat; . .^ . OVKOVV Kal bvou.a- 3 Plato, Kratyl. p. 388 C. "Ofo/xa 
<rre'oi^ -ft ve<j>VKe ra irpd.yfj.ara opojudcetp apa fitSaor/caAt/coj/ ri fcrrw opyavov, Kal 
re Kal bvo^d^<r$at, Kal if, aAA'^ovx $ av Sta^pm/coi/ TTJ<? ovirt'as, aiaTrep 

Speaking and naming are regarded vov 5e, aAAct Kara <rvv6JKr} V . Several 

by Plato as acts whereby the thing even of the Platonic critics consider 

(spoken of or) named is acted upon or Plato's choice of the metaphor bpyavov 

suffers. So in the Sophistes (p. 248) as inappropriate ; but modern writers 

he considers Knowing as an act per- on logic and psychology often speak of 

formed, whereby the thing known names as "instalments of thought", 
suffers. Deuschle (Die Platonische 4 piato, Kratyl. p. 389 A. 6 v- 

Sprach-philosophie, p. 59, Marburg, 0eVTjs, & s ^ rt>v ^/uov 

1852) treats this comparison made by *V di/dpwTrots yiyverat. 


employed ment, which he seeks to copy. "Whatever may be 
ppreci- S the variety of web for which the shuttle is destined, 

the d phflo- ^ e mo <lifies the new instrument accordingly : but all 
sopher. of them must embody the Form or Idea of the 
shuttle. He cannot choose another type according to his own 
pleasure: he must embody the type, prescribed by nature, 
in the iron, wood, or other material of which the instrument i& 
made. 1 

So about names : the lawgiver, in distribiiting names, must 
look to the Idea, Form, or type the self-existent name of Nature 
and must embody this type, as it stands for each different 
thing, in appropriate syllables. The syllables indeed may admit 
of great variety, just as the material of which the shuttle is made 
may be diversified : but each aggregate of syllables, whether 
Hellenic or barbaric, must embody the essential Name-Idea or 
Type. 2 The lawgiver 3 ought to know, enumerate, and classify 
all the sorts of things on the one hand, and all the varieties of 
letters or elements of language on the other ; distinguishing the 
special significative power belonging to each letter. He ought 
then to construct his words, and adapt each to signify that with 
which it is naturally connected. Who is to judge whether this 
process has been well or ill performed 1 Upon that point, the 
judge is, the professional man who uses the instrument. It is for 
the working weaver to decide whether the shuttle given to him 
is well or ill made. To have a good ship and rudder, it must be 
made by a professional builder, and appreciated by a professional 
pilot or steersman. In like manner, the names constructed by 
the lawgiver must be appreciated by the man who is qualified by 
training or study to use names skilfully : that is, by the dialec- 
tician or philosopher, competent to ask' and answer ques- 
tions. 4 

1 Plato, Kratyl. p. 389 B-C. avrb 6 pios elvat 6i/o/xar(.>v flexes. . . , 
earn KepKis . .' . Trap-as fxe^5et TO TT}S OVTWS dtw(reis jcal rbv vop.oOeTt\v rov 
KtpKiSoy exeiv etfios . ' . . ov\ otoi> a.v re evBdoe /cat rov ev TOIS /3apj3apoi?, cto? 
aurbs /3ovAij{hj, aAA* olov erre^vKet. av TO rov ovo/maTOs elSos airo- 

2 Plato, Kratyl. pp. 389 D, 390 A. StS<j> rb irj>o<rni<ov cKacrTy^ev 
rb e/edtrixj) <J>v(Tet flre<vcbs ovo/xa rov bir o LCU trov v (rvA.Aa/3at5, oi)8ev 
i>0ju.o0e'rjj> eneivov eis TOV<? <j>96yyov$ KO.\ x et P w vofiodennv eli/at rbv ev6a.Se >j rbv 
ras <rvXXaj8as 5et etrCcrraa'Oai TiQevcu, birovovv aAAo^i; 

<a wovm TrpsavTKetvo 3 p ^ t K fc j 

e<TTi.v oi/o/u.a, iravra. TO. ov6^ara. ' J 

iroielv re /cat riBetrBcu, el /u,e'\ /cu- 4 Plato, Kratyl. p. 390 C. 




and not 18 

It is the fact then, though many persons may think it ridicu- 
lous, that names or the elementary constituents and Names have 
letters, of which names are composed have each an. 
intrinsic and distinctive aptitude, fitting them to sig- 
nify particular things. 1 Names have thus a standard 
with reference to which they are correct or incorrect, another. 
If they are to be correct, they cannot be given either by the 
freewill of an ordinary individual, or even by the convention of 
all society. They can be affixed only by the skilled lawgiver, 
and appreciated only by the skilled dialectician, 

Such is the theory here laid down by Sokrates respecting 
Names. It is curious as illustrating the Platonic Forms of 
vein of speculation. It enlarges to an extreme point JJ^jfJIJ' as 
Plato's region of the absolute and objective. Not Forms of 
merely each thing named, but each name also, is in namoable 
his view an Ens absolutum ; not dependent upon JJTSfonien 
human choice not even relative (so he alleges) to to signify 
human apprehension. Each name has its own self- ofltsNom? 
existent Idea, Form, or Type, the reproduction or natiUm - 
copy of which is imperative. The Platonic intelligible world 
included Ideas of things, and of names correlative to them : just 
as it included Ideas of master and slave correlative to each other. 
It contained Noumena of names, as well as Noumena of things. 2 
The essence of the name was, to be significant of the essence of 
the thing named : though such significance admitted of diversity, 
multiplication, or curtailment, in the letters or syllables wherein 
it was embodied. 3 The name became significant, by imitation or 
resemblance : that name was right, the essence of which imitated 
the essence of the thing named. 4 The vocal mimic imitates 

1 Plato, Kratyl. pp. 425-426. 

2 Plato, Parmenid. p. 133 E. 

3 Plato, Kratyl. pp. 393 D, 432. 

4 Plato j Kratyl. p. 422 D. T&V bvo- 

jU.O.T<OI> Tp Op00TT]9 TOtaVTTJ Tl? /3oU\eTO 

eli/ai, ota SrjAoGy olov eVcaoTOis eart r<av 
ovTiav. 423 D : ov ical o t a t a 

8 o K e t crot etvat enanrrtf, wawep icai 
Xpw/txa ical a vvv 6)) eA.eyo/u,e> ; irptarov 
avrtS T(p xP t **l u ' aTt Ka \ T J? <t>o*vfi OVK Sarnv 
ov<rta TIS exarepta avrutv iea.1 rots a\\ots 
TracrLv, o<ra ^ t a> r a i TCIVTTJS rrj 5 
p o <rp ij<re<o? TOW elvatf . . . Tt 
ttv; ei Tiy aurb TOVTO /At/u,icr0at SVI/CUTO, 
o/eaarov ryv ovcrCav t re iea.1 

<ruA\a/3ais, ap' OVK av Sv)\oi twurrov o 

ecrrtv; Compare p. 433. 

The story given by Herodotus (ii. 2) 
about the experiment made by the 
Egyptian king Psammetichus, it> 
curious. He wished to find out 
whether the Egyptians or the Phry- 

oldest or fir 
ccordingly ca 
children to be brought up without 

gians were the 
kind : 

he according 

r first of man- 
caused two 


having a word spoken to them, with a 
view to ascertain what language they 
would come tq by nature. At the age 
of two years they uttered the Phrygian 
word signifying bread. Psammetichus 


sounds, the painter imitates the colours : the name-giver imitates 
in letters or syllables, the essence of colours, sounds, and every 
thing else which is nameable. 

Another point here is peculiar to Plato. The Name-Giver 
must provide names such as can be used with effect by the 
dialectician or philosopher : who is the sole competent judge 
whether the names have genuine rectitude or not. 1 We see from 
hence that the aspirations of Plato went towards a philosophical 
language fit for those who conversed with forms or essences : 
something like (to use modern illustrations) a technical nomen- 
clature systematically constructed for the expositions of men of 
science : such as that of Chemistry, Botany, Mineralogy, &c. 
Assuredly no language actually spoken among men, has ever 
been found suitable for this purpose without much artificial 

As this theory of naming is a deduction from Plato's main 
Exclusive doctrine f absolute or self-existing Ideas, so it also 
Competence illustrates (to repeat what was said in the last chapter) 
legeflaw- ^is recognition of professional skill and of competence 
cern r these S " veste( * exclusively in a gifted One or Few : which he 
essences, ranks as the sole producing cause of Good or the Best, 

setting it in contrast with those two causes which he 
considers as productive of Evil, or at any rate of the 
Inferior or Second-Best : 1, The One or Few, who 
are ungifted and unphilosophical : perhaps ambitious pretenders. 
2. The spontaneous, unbespoken inspirations, conventions, cus- 
toms, or habits, which grow up without formal mandate among 
the community. To find the right name of each thing, is no 
light matter, nor within the competence of any one or many 
ordinary men. It can only be done by one of the few privileged 
lawgivers. Plato even glances at the necessity of a superhuman 

was then satisfied that the Phrygians very different. See M. Renan, De 

were the first of mankind. I'Origine du Langage, ch. vi. p. 146, 

This story undoubtedly proceeds 2nd ed. 

upon the assumption that there is one 1 Plato, Kratyl. p. 390 D. Respecting 

name which naturally suggests itself the person called 6 S<.a\eKTi:6s, whom 

for each object. But when M. Renan Plato describes as grasping Ideas, or 

says that the assumption is the same Forms, Essences, and employing no- 

" as Plato has developed with so much thing else in his reasoning A.6yoi' StSovs 

subtlety In the Kratylus," I do not KCH \anpdv<av rrjs ovon'as see Repub- 

agree with him. The Absolute Name- lie, vi. p. 511 B, vii. pp. 533-534-537 C. 
Form or Essence, discernible only by 2 Plato, Kratyl. p. 426 A. 6 irepl 

the technical Lawgiver, is something bvo^artav rex^iKo^, &c. 


name-giver : though he deprecates the supposition generally, as a 
mere evasion or subterfuge, introduced to escape the confession 
of real ignorance. 1 

In laying down the basis of his theory respecting names, 
Plato states another doctrine as opposed to it : ws., Colmter . 
the Protagorean doctrine Man is the Measure of all Theory, 
things. I have already said something about this k^Shere 
doctrine, in reviewing the Theoetetus, where Plato J^^ rth 
impugns it : but as he here impugns it again, by pugns the 
arguments in part different a few words more will doclX^" 
not be misplaced. ^ ( Men - 

The doctrine of Protagoras maintains that all things 
are relative to the percipient, cogitant, concipient, mind : that 
all Object is implicated with a Subject : that as things appear to 
me, so they are to me as they appear to you, so they are to you. 
Plato denies this, and says : "All things have a fixed essence of 
their own, absolutely and in themselves, not relative to any 
percipient or cogitant nor dependent upon any one's apprecia- 
tive understanding, or emotional susceptibility, or will. Things 
are so and so, without reference to us as sentient or cogitant 
beings : and not only the things are thus independent and abso- 
lute, but all their agencies are so likewise agencies either by 
them or upon them. Cutting, burning, speaking, naming, &c., 
must be performed in a certain determinate way, whether we 
prefer it or not. A certain Name belongs, by Nature or abso- 
lutely, to a certain thing, whether we choose it or not : it is not 
relative to any adoption by us, either individually or collectively." 

This Protagorean theory is here set forth by the Platonic 
Sokrates as the antithesis or counter-theory, to that which he 
is himself advancing, viz. That Names are significant by nature 
and not by agreement of men : That each Nomen is tied to its 
Nominatum by a natural and indissoluble bond. His remarks 
imply, that those who do not accept this last-mentioned theory 
must agree with Protagoras. But such an antithesis is noway 
necessary : since (not to speak of Hermogenes himself in this 
very dialogue) we find also that Aristotle who maintains that 
Names are significant by convention and not by nature dis- 

1 Plato, Kratyl. pp. 397, 425, 43a 




sents also from the theory of Protagoras : and would have rested 
his dissent from it on very different grounds. 

This will show us what I have already remarked in corn- 
Objection menting on the Thesetetus that Plato has not been 
l^at r pro^ ver y care ^ i n appreciating the real bearing of the 
tagorasputs Protagorean doctrine. He impugns it here by the 
a ie n asto same argument which we also read in the Thesetetus. 
foU d Tnow- " -E vei T one admits " (he says) " that there are some 
ledge and men wise and good others foolish and wicked. Now 
ignorance. ^ VO11 a( j m ^ fl^ vou di sa n ow the Protagorean doc- 
trine. If I contend that as things appear to me, so they truly 
are to me as things appear to you or to him, so they truly are 
to you or to him I cannot consistently allow that any one man is 
wiser than any other. Upon such a theory, all men are put 
upon the same level of knowledge or ignorance." 

But the premisses of Plato here do not sustain his inference. 
The Protagorean doctrine is, when stated in its most general 
terms, That every man is and must be his own 
measure of truth or falsehood That what appears 
* n " n * rue ) i> s ^' ue t lwm>y however it may appear to 
others That he cannot by any effort step out of or 
beyond his own individual belief, conviction, know- 
ledge That all his Cognita, Credita, Percepta, Cogi- 
tata, &c., imply himself as Cognoscens, Credens, 
Percipiens, Cogitans, inseparably and indivisibly 
That in affirming an object, he himself is necessarily present 
as affirming subject, and that Object and Subject are only two 
sides of the same indivisible fact l That though there are some 

What the 
theory real- 
ly affirms 
Belief al- 
ways rela- 
tive to the 

i M. Destutt Tracy observes, Lo- 
gique, ch. ix. p. 347, ed. 1825 : 

" En effet, on ne saurait trop le 
redire, chacun de nous, et ineme tout 
6tre animS quelconque, est pour lui- 
mSme le centre de tout. D ne perc.oit 
par un sentiment direct et une con- 
science intime, que ce qui affecte et 
e"meut sa sensibility. II ne conceit et 
ne connalt son existence que par ce 
qu'il sent, et celle des autres etres que 
par ce qu'ils lui font sentir. II n'y a 
de reel pour lui que ses perceptions, 
ses affections, ses iddes : et tout ce 
qu'il peut jamais savoir, n'est toujours 
que des consequences et des combinai- 

sons de ces premieres perceptions ou 

The doctrine of the Sceptical philo- 
sophers, is explicitly announced by 
Sextus Empiricus as his personal be- 
lief : that which appears true to him, 
as far as his enquiry had reached. 
The passage deserves to be cited. 

Sextus Empir. Pyrrh. Hypotyp, i. 
sect. 197-199. 

'Oral/ o5i/ eiflfj 6 (TKerrTt/cbs " o v S e v 
bpi<a" . , , TOVTO <^>jort Aeycoi/ T b eau- 
rt}> <j> at i/6/xei/o v ^ n-ep I TJOV jrpo- 
K e t /* e v (o v, OVK aTrayyeA-riKws /nera 
7re7roi0ij<re(os axro^ati'o/xevos, dAX* o 
s. . . . Kai aiorrrep 


matters which all men agree in believing, there is no criterion at 
once infallible and universally recognised, in matters where 
they dissent : moreover, the matters believed are just as much 
relative where all agree, as where some disagree. 

This doctrine is not refuted by the fact, that every man 

believes others to be wiser than himself on various ^ . 

Each man 
points. A man is just as much a measure to himself believes 

when he acts upon the advice of others, or believes ^s 

a fact upon the affirmation of others, as when he various 
. , x . . . . points than 

judges upon Jus own unassisted sense or reasoning, himself 

He is a measure to himself when he agrees with authority- 
others, as much as when he disagrees with them. n . * in f n :., 

f\ * ,.1 * A A*. *. i i j-i sjsterit with 

Opinions of others, or facts attested by others, may the affirma- 
count as materials determining his judgment; but tagoms^ 
the judgment is and must be his own. The larger 
portion of every man's knowledge rests upon the testimony of 
others ; nevertheless the facts thus reported become portions of 
his knowledge, generating conclusions in him and relatively to 
him. I believe the narrative of travellers, respecting parts of 
the globe which I have never seen : I adopt the opinion of A a 
lawyer, and of B a physician, on matters which I have not 
studied : I understand facts which I did not witness, from the 
description of those who did witness them. In all these cases 
the act of adoption is my own, and the grounds of belief are 
relative to my state of mind. Another man may mistrust com- 
pletely the authorities which I follow : just as I mistrust the 
authority of Mahomet or Confucius, or various others, regarded 
as infallible by a large portion of mankind. The grounds of 
belief are to a certain extent similar, to a certain extent dissimi- 
lar, in different men's minds. Authority is doubtless a frequent 
ground of belief; but it is essentially variable and essentially 
relative to the believer. Plato himself, in many passages, 
insists emphatically upon the dissensions in mankind respecting 
the question " }Vho are the good and wise men % " He tells us 
that the true philosopher is accounted by the bulk of mankind 
foolish and worthless. 

6 Xeywv "treptiraTw," Suva/Act </jo*iv Xeyo^evov TOIOUTOV "5<ra eirfj\6ov 

"ey^w ire^iTraTw," OUTWS ^6 Ae'ycop rStv 8 oy par t KU>$ ^Tjrou/x^fwi/, 

"Travr a ^e p-r^li/ d<^p t crra" <rv<r<rr)- rotavrd. /not at per at, <*>? /jujSev 

fiaivct *ca0' r^as TO <os TT/>O$ /iti y avrup rov /maxo/ueVov irpov\eiv noiSoKctv 

ios IfAOt ^atveraf ws eli/ai TO icara iricrrw y airio-Tiav ". 





In the Kratylus, Sokrates says (and I agree with him) that 
Analogy of there are laws of nature respecting the processes of 
processes cutting and burning : and that any one who attempts to 
(cutting and cut or burn in a way unconformable to those laws, 
appealed to will fail in his purpose. This is true, but it proves 
^does no? S n thing against Protagoras. It is an appeal to a 
sustain his generalization from physical facts, resting upon ex- 
perience and induction upon sensation and inference 
which we and others, Protagoras as well as Plato, 
have had, and which we believe to be common to all. We 
know this fact, or have a full and certain conviction of it ; but 
we are not brought at all nearer to the Absolute (ie., to the 
Object without Subject) which Plato's argument requires. The 
analogy rather carries us away from the Absolute : for cutting 
and burning, with their antecedent conditions, are facts of 
sense : and Plato himself admits, to a great extent, that the 
facts of sense are relative. All experience and induction, and 
all belief founded thereupon, are essentially relative. The 
experience may be one common to all mankind, and upon which 
all are unanimous : 1 but it is not the less relative to each indi- 

i Proklus, in his Scholia on the 
Kratylus, p. 32, ed. Boisson. cites the 
argument used by Aristotle against 
Plato on this very subject of names- 
TO. fjtev $ v <r e i, irapa iratrt rot 
a v T a TO, 6e ovdjaara ov irapa Traorc TO. 
aiiroL wcrre TO. <^u(Tet ovra. OVK eoTtp 
6t/6/u,ara, KOU. TO. bvo^ara OVK etcri <v<ret. 
Ainmonius ad Aristot. Be Interpretat. 
p. 100, a. 28, Schol. Bekk. Sextus 
Enipiricus adv. Mathemat. i. 145-147, 
p. 247, Fab. 

Plato had assimilated naming to 
cutting and burning. Aristotle denies 
the analogy : he says that cutting and 
burning are the same to all, or are by 
nature : naming is not the same to all, 
and is therefore not by nature. 

We find here the test pointed out 
to distinguish what is ly nature (that 
which Plato calls the ovo-Cav pefiaiov 
TWI> 7rpay/u,dTwv p. 386 E), viz. That 
it is the same to all or among all. 
What it is to one individual, it is to 
another also. There are a multitude of 
different judging subjects, but no dis- 
sentient subjects : myself, and in my 
belief all other subjects, are affected 
alike. This is the true and real Ob- 

jective : a particular fact of sense, where 
Subject is not eliminated altogether, 
but becomes a constant quantity, and 
therefore escapes separate notice. An 
Objective absolute (i.e., without Subject 
altogether^ is an impossibility. 

In the Aristotelian sense of $v<m, it 
would be correct to say that Language, 
or Naming in genfre, is natural to 
man. No human society has yet been 
found without some language some 
names some speech employed and 
understood by each individual mem- 
ber. But many different varieties of 
speech will serve the purpose, not 
indeed with equal perfection, yet 
tolerably : enough to enable a society 
to get on. The uniformity (TO </>v'<m) 
here ceases. To a certain extent, the 
objects and agencies which are named, 
are the same in all societies: to a 
certain extent different. If we were 
acquainted with all the past facts re- 
specting the different languages which 
have existed or do exist on the globe, 
we should be able to assign the reason 
which brought each particular N&men 
into association with its Nominatum. 
But this past history is lost. 


vidual of the multitude. What is relative to all, continues to 
be relative to each : the fact that all sentient individuals are in 
this respect alike, does not make it cease to be relative, and 
become absolute. What I see and hear in the theatre is relative 
to me, though it may at the same time be relative to ten 
thousand other spectators, who are experiencing like sensations. 
Where all men think or believe alike, it may not be necessary 
for common purposes to distinguish the multiplicity of indi- 
vidual thinking subjects : yet the subjects are nevertheless 
multiple, and the belief, knowledge, or fact, is relative to each 
of them, whether all agree, or whether beliefs are many and 
divergent. We cannot suppress ourselves as sentient or cogitarit 
subjects, nor find any locus standi for Object pure and simple, 
apart from the ground of relativity. And the Protagorean 
dictum brings to view these subjective conditions, as being 
essential, no less than the objective, to belief and dis- 

Protagoras would have agreed with Plato as to combustion 
that there were certain antecedent conditions under 

which he fully expected it, and certain other condi- Protagoras 
tions under which he expected with confidence that tonic objec- 
it would not occur. Only he would have declared tions> 
this (assuming him to speak conformably to his own theory) to 
be his own full belief and conviction, derived from certain facts 
and comparisons of sense, which he also knew to be shared by 
most other persons. He would have pronounced farther, that 
those who held opposite opinions were in his judgment wrong : 
but he would have recognised that their opinion was true to 
themselves, and that their belief must be relative to causes 
operating upon their minds. Farthermore, he would have 
pointed out, that combustion itself, with its antecedents, were 
facts of sense, relative to individual sentients and observers, 
remembering and comparing what they had observed. This 
would have been the testimony of Protagoras (always assuming 
him to speak in conformity with his own theory), but it would 
not have satisfied Plato : who would have required a peremptory, 
absolute afiirmation, discarding all relation to observers or ob- 
served facts, and leaving no scope for error or fallibility. 
Those who agree with Plato on this question, impugn the 


Sentiments doctrine of Protagoras as effacing all real, intrinsic, 

of Belief distinction between truth and falsehood. Such ob- 

fief, common jectors make it a charge against Protagoras, that he 

<?rou\5s^F ^ oes no ^ erec ^ his own m i n( l i nto a peremptory and 

belief and infallible measure for all other minds. 1 He expressly 
disbelief, . ,1 -. , ,. f -, . . , . 

different recognises the distinction, so far as his own mind is 

with diffe- concerned : he admits that other men recognise it 
rent men D 

and diffe- also, each for himself. Nevertheless, to say that all 
ren ages. ^^ recognise one and the same objective distinction 
between truth and falsehood, would be to contradict palpable 
facts. Each man has a standard, an ideal of truth in his own 
mind : but different men have different standards. The grounds 
of belief, though in part similar with all men, are to a great 
extent dissimilar also : they are dissimilar even with the same 
man, at different periods of his life and circumstances. What 
all men have in common is the feeling of belief and the feeling 
of disbelief : the matters believed or disbelieved, as well as the 
ideal standard to which any new matter presented for belief or 
disbelief is referred, differ considerably. By rational discussion 
by facts and reasonings set forth on both sides, as in the Pla- 
tonic dialogues opinions may be overthrown or modified : 
dissentients may be brought into agreement, or at least each may 
be rendered more fully master of the case on both sides. But 
this dialectic, the Platonic question and answer, is itself an 
appeal to the free action of the individual mind. The ques- 
tioner starts from premisses conceded by the respondent. He 
depends upon the acquiescence of the respondent for every step 
taken in advance. Such a proceeding is relative, not absolute : 
coinciding with the Protagoreaii formula rather than with the 
Platonic negation of it. 2 No man ever claimed the right of 
individual judgment more emphatically than Sokrates : no man 
was ever more special in adapting his persuasions to the indivi- 
dual persons with whom he conversed. 

l To illustrate the impossibility of sachlichen Typen des Sprachbaues, 2nd 

a passage from Steinthal's work on the Thesetetus, p. 171 D. 

Classification of Human Languages ; Also in proclaiming the necessity of 

but I find it too long for a note. specialty of adaptation to individual 

Steinthal, Charakteristik der Haupt- minds Plat. Pheedr. pp. 271-272, 277 B. 



The grounds of belief, according to Protagoras, relative to the 
individual, are not the same with all men at all times. 
But it does not follow (nor does Protagoras appear to 
have asserted) that they vary according to the will or affirm, that 
inclination of the individual. Plato, in impugning pended 
this doctrine, reasons as if these two things were one ^n^Hncli- 
and the same as if, according to Protagoras, a man nation of 
believed whatever he chose. 1 This, however, is not virtual, but 
an exact representation of the doctrine " Homo Men- relaftive^to 8 
sura " : which does not assert the voluntary or the the circum- 
arbitrary, but simply the relative as against the ofeach 
absolute. What a man believes does not depend upon J| n i d ' idual 
his own will or choice : it depends upon an aggregate 
of circumstances, partly peculiar to himself, partly common to 
him with other persons more or fewer in number : 2 upon his 

1 Plato, Kratyl. pp. 387-389, where 
Trpb? -rjfjLag is considered as equivalent 

to to? ov i)/xeis /3ouAo>|u.e0a 17 av rjnels 
^ov\-nO<ttjj.ev both of them being op- 
posed to oloi> e7re<vKfc-i TO Kara (j>v<riv 
ISiav avT&v <>v(Tii> exov<rai. 

The error here noted is enumerated 
by Mr. John Stuart Mill, among the 
specimens of Fallacies of Confusion, 
in his System of Logic, Book v. ch. vii. 
1 : " The following is an argument of 
Descartes to prove, in his a priori 
manner, the being of a God. The 
conception, says he, of an infinite 
Being proves the real existence of such 
a Being. For if there is not really 
any such Being, / must have made the 
conception : but if I could make it, I 
can also unmake it which evidently 
is not true : therefore there must be, 
externally to myself, an archetype 
from which the Conception was derived. 
In this argument (which, it may be ob- 
served, would equally prove the real 
existence of ghosts and of witches) the 
ambiguity is in the pronoun /; by 
which, in one place, is to be under- 
stood my will in another, the laws of 
my nature. If the conception, existing 
as it does in my mind, had no original 
without, the conclusion would unques- 
tionably follow that / made it that 
is, the laws of my nature must have 
somehow evolved it : but that my 
will made it, would not follow. Now 
when Descartes afterwards adds that 
I cannot unmake the conception, he 

means that I cannot get rid of it by 
an act of my will which is true, but 
is not the proposition required. I can 
as much unmake this conception as 
I can any other : no conception which 
I have once had, can I ever dismiss 
by mere volition : but what some of 
the laws of my nature have produced, 
other laws, or those same laws in other 
circumstances, may, and often do, sub- 
sequently efface." 

2 To show how constantly this Pro- 
tagorean dictum is misconceived, as if 
Protagoras had said that things were 
to each individual what ho was pleased 
or chose to represent them as being, 
I transcribe the following passage 
from Lassalle's elaborate work on 
Herakleitus (vol. ii. p. 381) : " Des 
Protagoras Prinzip ist es, dass iiber- 
haupt Nichts Om'ektives ist ; dass 
vielmehr alles Beliebige was Einem 
scheint, auch fiir ihn sei. Dies Selbst- 
setzen des Subjekts ist die einzige 
Wahrheit der Dinge, welche an sich 
selbst Nichts Objektives haben, son- 
dern zur gleichgiiltigen Flache ge- 
worden sind, auf die das Subjekt 
willkiihrlich und beliebig seine Cha- 
raktere schreibt." 

Protagoras does not (as is here 
asserted) deny the Objective : he only 
insists on looking at it in conjunction 
with, or measured by) some Subject ; 
and that Subject, not simply as desiring 
or preferring, but clothed in all its 


age, organisation, and temperament his experience, education, 
historical and social position his intellectual powers and acquire- 
ments his passions and sentiments of every kind, &c. These 
and other ingredients analogous, yet neither the same nor com- 
bined in the same manner, even in different individuals of the 
same time and country, much less in those of different times and 
countries compose the aggregate determining grounds of belief or 
disbelief in every one. Each man has in his mind an ideal 
standard of truth and falsehood : but that ideal standard, never 
exactly the same in any two men, nor in the same man at all 
times, often varies in different men to a prodigious extent. Now 
it is to this standard in the man's own mind that those reasoners 
refer who maintain that belief is relative. They do not maintain 
that it is relative simply to his wishes, or that he believes and 
disbelieves what he chooses. 

When Plato says that combustibility and secability of objects 
Facts of are properties fixed and determinate, 1 this is perfectly 
some are true > as mean -i n g ^lasti a certain proportion of the facts 
the same to of sense affect in the same way the sentient and 
subjects^ appreciative powers of each individual, determining 
different to ^ e ^ e belief in every man who has ever experienced 
different them. Measuring and weighing are sensible facts of 
Grounds of this character : seen alike by all, and conclusive proofs 
unanimity, to all. But this implies, to a certain point, funda- 

1 When Plato asserts not only that telle disposition du sujet. Mais savons- 

Objects are absolute and not relative nous quelque chose de plus? et mme, 

to any Subject but that the agencies vu le caractere mde"termine des causes 

or properties of Objects are also abso- que nous concevons dans les corps, 

lute he carries the doctrine farther y-a-t-il quelque chose de plus a savoir ? 

than modern defenders of the absolute. Y-a-t-il lieu de nous enque'rir si nous 

M. Cousin, in the eighth and ninth percevons les choses telles qu'elles sont ? 

Lectures of his Cours d Hist, de la Phi- Non, tvidemment. . . Je ne dis pas que 

losophie Morale au 18me Siecle, lays le prolleme est insoluble: je dis qu'il 

down the contrary, maintaining that est absurde, et renferme une contradic- 

objects and essences alone are absolute, tion. Nous ne savons pas ce que ces 

though unknowable ; but that their causes sont en elles-m8mes, et la raison 

agencies are relative and knowable. nous defend de chercher a les con- 

*' Nous savons qu'il existe quelque naltre : mais il est bien evident d priori 

chose hors de nous, parceque nous ne qu'elles ne sont pas en elles-mdmes 

pouvons expliquer nos perceptions sans ce qu'elles sont par rapport a nous, 

les rattacher a des causes distinctes puisque la presence du sujet modifle 

de nous mmes : nous savons de plus ndcessairement leur action. Supprimez 

que ces causes, dont nous ne connais- tout sujet sentant, 11 est certain que 

sons pas d'ailleurs 1'essence, prodmsent ces causes agiraient encore, puisqu'elles 

lea effets les plus variables, les plus continueraient d'exister ; mais elles 

divers, et mSme les plus contraires, agiraient autrement; elles seraient 

selon qu'elles r&ncontrent telle nature ou encore des qualites et des propriety 


mental uniformity in the individual sentients and judges. 
Where such condition is wanting where there is a fundamental 
difference in the sensible apprehension manifested by different 
individuals the unanimity is wanting also. Such is the case in 
regard to colours and other sensations : witness the peculiar 
vision of Dalton and many others. The unanimity in the first 
case, the discrepancy in the second, is alike an aggregate of judg- 
ments, each individual, distinct, and relative. You pronounce 
an opponent to be in error : but if you cannot support your 
opinion by evidence or authority which satisfies his senses or his 
reason, he remains unconvinced. Your individual opinion stands 
good to you ; his opinion stands good to him. You think that he 
ought to believe as you do, and in certain cases you feel per- 
suaded that he will be brought to that result by future ex- 
perience, which of course must be relative to him and to his 
appreciative powers. He entertains the like persuasion in regard 
to you. 

It is thus that Sokrates, in the first half of the Kratylus, lays 
down his general theory that names have a natural Sokrates 
and inherent propriety : and that naming is a process ^ theory* 
which cannot be performed except in one way. He of the 
at the same time announces that his theory rests upon Name or 

a principle opposed to the "Homo Mensura" of Pro- 
tagoras. He then proceeds to illustrate his doctrine attempts to 
by exemplification of many particular names, which mn ^ren^ 
are alleged to manifest a propriety of signification in rectitude of 
reference to the persons or matters to which they are ing names. 
applied. Many of these are proper names, but some S^c^San- 
are common names or appellatives. Plato regards the sitions. 

mais qui ne ressembleraient a rien de drait encore admettre que nul corps ne 

ce que nous connaissons. Le feu ne manif esterait ses proprit6s autrement 

manifesterait plus aucune des pro- qu'en relation avecunsujetquelconque, 

prie^s que nous lui connaissons : que et dans ce cas ses proprieUs ne seraient 

serait-ilf C'est ce que nous ne saurons encore que relatives: en sorte qn'il me 

jamais. C'est d'ailleurs peut-8tre un parait fort raisonnable d'admettre que 

probleme qui ne repugne pas seulement les propri^tes determinees des corps 

a la nature de notre esprit mais a n'exutent pas indtipendamment d'un ay jet 

1'essence melne des choses. Quand qudconque" (2de Partie, S^e Lec.on, 

meme en effet on supprimerait par la pp. 216-218, ed. Danton et Vacherot 

pensee tous les aujets sentants, u fau- Bruxelles, 1311.) 




proper names as illustrating, even better than the common, the 
doctrine of inherent rectitude in naming : especially the names 
of the Gods, with respect to the use of which Plato was himself 
timidly scrupulous and the names reported by Homer as em- 
ployed by the Gods themselves. We must remember that nearly 
all Grecian proper names had some meaning : being compounds 
or derivatives from appellative nouns. 

The proper names are mostly names of Gods or Heroes : then 
follow the names of the celestial bodies (conceived as Gods), of 
the elements, of virtues and vices, &c. All of them, however, 
both the proper and the common names, are declared to be com- 
pound, or derivative ; presupposing other simple and primitive 
names from which they are formed. 1 Sokrates declares the 

1 See the Introduction to Pape's 
Worterbuch der Griechisehen Eigen- 

Thus Proklus observes : " The 
recklessness about proper names is 
shown in the case of the man who 
gave to his son the name of Atha- 
nasius" (Proklus, Schol. ad Kratyl. 
p. 5, ed. Boiss.). Proklus adopts the 
distinction between divine and human 
names, citing the authority of Plato in 
Kratylus. The words of Proklus are 
remarkable, ad^ Timseum, ii. p. 197, 
Schneid. Oiiceta. yap carii/ oi/6/u.ara 
Tratrrj rafet rtav irpayiJidTtav, Oela i&ev TOIS 
Setots, 6iaj/OT)Ta 5e TOIS SiavoYjTots, 
Sofcurra Se rots 6 v oa<rrots. See Timseus, 
p. 29 B. Compare also Kratylus, 
p. 400 K, and Philbus, p. 12 C. 

When Plato (Kratylus, pp. 391-392 ; 
compare Phredrus, p 252 A) cites the 
lines of Homer mentioning appella- 
tions bestowed by the Gods, I do not 
understand him, as Grafonhahn and 
others do, to speak in mockery, but 
bond fide. The affirmation of Clemens 
Alexandrinus (Stromat. i. 104) gives a 
probable account of Plato's belief: 

O Hkdrtav KOU TOt? 0fOtS 8ia\.CKTOV 

a7TOf/u,et Tiva, /u.aA.t<TTa ju.ei/ drrb rtav T/e/xaip6ftevo5 KCU rtav xpTjtr- 
u>v. See Grafenhahn, Gesch. der 
Klassischen Philologie, vol. i. p. 176. 

When we read the views of some 
learned modern philologists, such as 
Godfrey Hermann, we cannot be sur- 
prised that many Greeks in the Platonic 
age should believe in an bpQarys 6vo- 
u.&ruv applicable to their Gods and 
Heroes: "Unde intelligitur, ex no- 
minibus naturam et munia esse cog- 

noscenda Deorum: Nee Deorum tan- 
turn, sed etiam heroum, omninoque 
rerum omnium, nominibus quse propria 
vocantur appellatarum " (l)e Mytho- 
logiaGrfecorum AntiquissimS, in Opus- 
cula, vol. ii. p. 167). 

"Bei each, Ihr Herrn, kann man das 


Gewolmlich aus dem Namen lesen," 

Goethe, Faust. 

See a remarkable passage in Plu- 
tarch, adv. Koldten, c. 22, p. 1119 E, 
respecting the essential rectitude and 
indispensable employment of the sur- 
names and appellations of the Gods. 

The supposition of a mysterious 
inherent relation, between Names and 
the things named, has found acceptance 
among expositors of many different 

M. Jacob Salvador (Histoire des 
Institutions de Moise, Liv. x., ch. ii. ; 

vol. iii. p. 136) says respecting the 
dsh Cabbala : -" Que dirai-je de 


leur Cabale? mot signifiant aussi tra- 
dition. Elle se composait originaire- 
ment de tons les principes abstraits 
qui ne se rdpandent pas chez le vul- 
gaire ; elle tomba bientdt dans la folie. 
Cacher quelques ide"es metaphysiques 
sous les figures les plus bizarres, et 
prendre ensuite une peine inflnie pour 
retrouver ces idees premieres : s'lma- 
giner qu'il existe entre les noms et les 
choses une correlation inevitable, et 
que la contexture litt^rale des livres 
sacr^s, par exemple, doit ^clairer sur 
1'essence m^tne et sur tous les secrets 
du Dieu qui les a dictcs : tourmeuter 




fundamental theory on which the primitive roots rest ; and 
indicates the transforming processes, whereby many of the names 
are deduced or combined from their roots. But these processes, 
though sometimes reasonable enough, are in a far greater number 
of instances forced, arbitrary, and fanciful. The transitions of 
meaning imagined, and the structural transformations of words, 
are alike strange and violent. 1 

des-lors chaque phrase, chaque mot, 
chaque lettre, avec la mgme ardeur 
qu'on en met de nos jours & decomposer 
et a recomposer tous les corps de la 
nature: enfin, apres avoir etabli la 
correlation entre les mots et les choses, 
croire qu'en changeant, disposant, com- 
binant, ces mots, on traverse de pre"- 
tendus canaux d'influence qui les 
unissent & ces choses, et qu'on agit sur 
elles : voilk, ce me semble, les princi- 
pales pretentions de cette espece de 
science occulte, e'chapptte de 1'Egypte, 
qui a devor6 beaucoup de bons esprits, 
et qui, d'une part, donne la main & la 
th^ologie, d'autre part, & 1'astrologie et 
aux combinaisons magiques." 

1 1 cite various specimens of the 
etymologies given by Plato : 

1. 'Aya/uie/uivcoi/ 6 d-ycurros Kara rr)v 
einfiov^v in consequence of his pa- 
tience in remaining GAOVT)) with his 
army before Troy (p % 395 A). 

2. 'ATpevs Kara TO aTeipc's, *cal Kara 
rb arpecrrov, Kal Kara TO arypov (p. 395 

3. IleAo^ 6 TO eyyv9 (TreAas) JJLOVOV 
bp)V Kal TO irapaxpyjl^a (p. 395 D). 

4. TdjraAos raAd>TaTOs (p. 395 E). 

5. Zi)s Aea Zfjva 6Y oi> ij v del 
Trao'iTois^waii'VTrdpxet utproprieunum 
debuerit esse vocabulum Ata^i'a. Stall- 
baum, ad. p. 396 A. Proklus admired 
these etymologies (ad Timeeum, ii. p. 
226, ed. Schneid.). 

6. Oi 0eoi Sun, Moon, Earth, Stars^ 
Uranus are avra bpSivres iravra dei 
lovra 6po/xo) Kal Oeovra, airb TO.VTV}? TTJS 
d>uo"eo)5 T^? TOV Oelv Q e o v s avTOus 
cnovop-aorai (p. 397 D). 

7. Aaifjioves OTI </>poVi/u.oi Kal Sarf 
/move? ^O"av, Sa.iu.ovas avrovs w^o/xaaei/ 
(Hesiod) (p. 398 B). 

8. "Hpws either from pws, as one 
sprung from the union of Gods with 
human females : or from epo>T<p or 
eipeiv, from oral or rhetorical attri- 
butes, as being prjropes Kal eptarnrtKoi 
(p. 398 D). 

9. Ai$iAos Aii <>iAos (p. 399 B). 

10. 'Avflpwiros 6 avaBpuv a brrtairtv 
(p. 399 C). 

11. *vx*? a double derivation is 
proposed : first, TO avdtyvxov, next, a 
second, i.e. ^VY* = ^vo-e'xt), ^ <bv<riv 
bxel KO.I exei, which second is declared 
to be rexvi.K<i)Tepov t and the former to 
be ridiculous (pp. 399 E, 400 A-B). 

12. 2w/LUl = TO oSjjlAa T^S tyvXVSi ^ 6 " 

cause the soul is buried in the body. 
Or o-w/xa, that is, preserved or guarded, 
by the body aa by an exterior wall, in 
order that it may expiate wronga of a 
preceding life (p. 400 C). 

13. The first imposer of names was 
a philosopher who followed the theory 
of Herakleitus perpetual flux of 
everything. Pursuant to this theory 
he gave to various Gods the names 
Kronos, Rhea, Tethys, &c., all signify- 
ing flux (p. 402 A-B). 

14. Various derivations of the names 
Poseidon, Hades or Pluto, Perseplion6 
or Pherrephatta, <fec., are given (pp. 
404-405) ; also of Apollo, so as to fit 
on to the four functions of the last- 
named God, fioucri/oj, /aaim/cij, taTptxrJ, 
Tot*if (p. 405). 

15. MoOo-a fJiQv<TiK\i, from /uuuo-0ai 
(recognised in Liddell and Scott from 
f*dw p. 406 A). 'A^poSm) from d$pou 
yeVeo-iv, the Hesiodic derivation (p. 406 


16. *A9)p OTI olpei Tol drrb TW: 

17 OTI del p^ei TJ OTI irvevjjM 
ytyi/eTat peoi/Tos quasi a 
Aidnp OTI del del rrcpi rbv d^pa 
(p. 410 B). 

17. ^poiojo-tr^-^opa^Kat pou 
Or, TO ovrjcriv v7roA.a/3eii/ 0opa?. 

and the following are put as deriva- 
tives from the Herakleitean theory 
(p. 411 D-E). Notjo-is = TOV v4o v rts. 
2w0poo-vnj orwTTjpta </>poija-ew. This 
is recognised by Aristotle in the 
Nikom. Ethica, vi. 5. 

18. 'Ejri<rTJfJWi = errtffnrifjLevr) oj <ftf 
pOju.^t/oi$ TOIS irpa.yn.acnv iro/u,Vj$ TTJS 
iftvxfc (p. 412 A). 

19. AiKaioo"vvw-7rl TJJ TOV 5t*catov 
orvi'eVet (p. 412 C). 

20. Koucia = TO /caxw? 16 v, AeiAia 
TT}5 ^vx^s fieo-fibs to-vvpo? o del Aiav. 
*APTJ = dtpeiT>j that which has an 




These tran 

Such is the light in which these Platonic etymologies appear 
to a modern critic. But such was not the light in 
which they appeared either to the ancient Platoniste, 
or to critics earlier than the last century. The 
Platonists even thought them full of mysterious 
and recondite wisdom. Dionysius of Halikarnassus 
highly commends Plato for his speculations on ety- 
mology, especially in the Kratylus. 1 Plutarch cites 
some of the most singular etymologies in the Kraty- 
^ us as ser i QIls an ^ instructive. The modesty of the 
, that Protagorean formula becomes here especially appli- 
cable : for so complete has been the revolution of 
to deride 68 pi n * on > that the Platonic etymologies are now treated 
the So- by most critics as too absurd to have been seriously 
intended by Plato, even as conjectures. It is called 

violent to 
a modern 
They did 
not appear 
so to rea- 
ders of 
Plato until 
this cen- 

phis a. 

easy and constant flux, or perhaps 
aiperri (p. 416 B-D). Aurxpoi/ = TO 
aeta^opovi* rb del t<rxoi> TOV povv 
(p. 416 B). 5v//.0epoi/ TTJV a/uta <j>opav 
rws <^vx^S /".era. rSiv irpa.yn.a.T<av (p. 417 
A.). Av<riTeAov> Tb T>)? <>opa Avoi> TO 
reAos (p. 417 G-B). BAa/3epbv = TO j3Aar- 
TQV rov povv. 

The names of favourable import are 
such as designate facility of the uni- 
versal flux, according to the Hera- 
kleitean theory. The names of un- 
favourable import designate obstruc- 
tion of the flux. 

21. Zvybv = <5voy<**> (p. 418 D) v 

22. Ev<j!>po<rvj/77 dm) TOU eS TQM? irpay* 


ri\v ijsvvTl 
<TVVT) (p. 419 D). 

23. u/xbs airb TTJS 0v<rews Kal 
TTJJ >^vxn?- "E,mOv(j.ia -f) ewt TQV 
towcra 6vi/a/ixts (p. 419 E). 

24. Tb 6^ TO o5 TV-yvafet , 
TO ovofjio., 'Oi'o/tiao'Tb^ = oVf ot fj.dcr(j.a. 
tffriv. (Mao-yuqc = ?T?j/xa : /*ate<rdat = 
&r*iv) (p. 421 A). 

25. *AAtj0et'a 0eca aXrj, or i] 0ta TOU 
OJ/TO? ^opa. *05os from eufictr, with 
/rt prefixed, as being the opposite of 
movement and flux (p. 421 B-0). 

26. Several derivations of names are 
given by Sokmtes, as founded upon the 
theory opposed to Herakleitus i.e., 
the theory that things were not ill 
perpetual flux, but stationary : 

' tornjcnv TJJOWI/ eiri rots 

Mi/>? (U-Tj /u,ov?) ev T]7 ^/uxi? (437 A-C). 

27. We found before that some names 
of good attributes were founded on the 
Herakleiteari theory. But there are 
also names of lad attributes founded 
on it. 

'Afiaffta. = -fj rov a/u,a 0e<u t<Ji/TOs Tropeta, 
'AKoAaorta = 17 aKoXoupta rots npay- 
^affiv (p. 437 C). 

Sokrates contrasts the two theories 
of erracrts and KU/TJCTIS, and says that he 
believes the first Name-Givers to have 
apportioned names in conformity to the 
theory of xinio-t?, but that he thinks 
they were mistaken in adopting that 
theory (p. 439 C). 

i Dionys. Hal. De Cornp. Verb. s. 16, 
. 196, Scnaefer. T<X pdr terra &e v^/uw, 
TOV virep eTV/m.oAo'ytas et<r<t- 

ta brt icrTijo"!. rbv povi^. 

TO> KparvAto. 

About Plato's etymologies, as se- 
riously intended, see Plutarch, Be Iside 
et Osiride, p. 375 C-D-E, with the note 
of Wyttenbach. Harris, in his Hermes 
(pp. 369-370-407), alludes to the ety- 
mologies of Plato in the Kratylus as 
being ingenious, though disputable, 
but not at all as being derisory cari- 
catures. Indeed the etymology of 
tfcwnfta, which he cites from Scaliger, 
p. 370, is quite as singular as any in 
the Kratylus. Sydenham (Notes to 
the translation of Plato's Philgbus, 
P. 36) calls the Kratylus "a dialogue, 
in which is taught the nature of things! 
as well the permanent as the transient 




"a valuable discovery of modern times'' (so Schleiermacher J 
terms it) that Plato meant all or most of them as mere parody 

from a supposed etymology of names 
and words. 

I find, in the very instructive com- 
ments of Bishop Colenso on the Pen- 
tateuch (Part iv. ch. 24, p. 250), a 
citation from St. Augustine, illustrat- 
ing the view which I believe Plato to 
have taken of these etymologies : " Quo 
loco prorsus non arbitror preetereun- 
dum, quod pater Valerius animadvertit 
admirans, in quorundam rusticanorum 
{i.e., Africans, near Carthage] collocu- 
tione. Cum enirn alter alteri dixisset 
Salus qusesivit ab eo, qui et Latine* 
nosset et Punice", quid esset tfa^ws: re- 
sponsum est, Trio,. Turn ille agnoscens 
cum gaudio, salutem nostram esse Tri- 
nitatem, convenientiam Imguarum non 
fortuitu sic sonuisse arbitratus est, sed 
occultissima dispensatione divinee pro- 
videntiae ut cum Latine* nominator 
Salus, a Punicis intelligantur Tria et 
cum Punici lingua, sua Tria nominant, 
Latine intelligatur Salus . . . Sedhcec 
verborum consonantia, give provenerit 
sive provisa sit, non pugnaciter agen- 
dum e*t ut ei quisque consentiat, scd 
quantum interpretantis elegantiam hila- 
ritas audientis admittit." 

So in the etymologies of the Kra- 
tylus: Plato follows out threads of 
analogy, which, with indulgent hearers, 
he reckons will be sufficient for proof : 
and which, even when not accepted as 
proof, will be pleasing to the fancy of 
unbelieving hearers, as they are to his 
own. There is no intention to cari- 
cature : no obvious absurdities piled 
up with a view to caricature. 

i Schleiermacher, Introduction to 
Kratylus, vol. iv. p. 6: "Dagegen ist 
viel gewonnen durch die Entdeckung 
neuerer Zeiten," &c. To the same pur- 
pose, Zeller, Phil. d. Griech., part ii. 
p. 402, edit. 2nd. and Brandis, Gesch. 
d. Gr. Bom. Phil., part ii. sect. cvii. p. 

Stallbaum, Prolegg. ad Platon. Cra- 
tylum, p. 4, says : "Quod mirum est non 
esse ab lis animadversum, qui Platonem 
putaverunt de linguae et vocabulorum 
origine hoc libro suam sententiam ex- 
plicare voluisse. Isti enim adeo nihil 
senserunt irrisipnis, ut omnia atque 
singula pro philosophi decretis ven- 
ditarint, ideoque ei absurdissima quse- 
que commenta amnxerint. Ita Me- 
nagius. . . . Nee Tiedemannus Argum, 
Dial. Plat, multo rectius judicat. Irri- 

sionem primi senserunt Garnierius et 
Tennemann." &c. Stallbaum, more- 
over, is perpetually complaining in his 
notes, that the Etymological Lexicons 
adopt Plato's derivations as genuine. 
Manage (ad Diogen. Laert. iii. 25) 
declares most of the etymologies of 
Plato in the Kratylus to be ^euSeVvua, 
but never hints at the supposition 
that they are intended as caricatures. 
During the centuries between Plato 
and Menage, men had become more 
critical on the subject of etymology : 
in the century after Manage, they had 
become more critical still, as we may 
see by the remarks of Turgot on the 
etymologies of Manage himself. 

The following are the remarks of 
Turgot, in the article ' Etymologie ' 
(Encycl. Franc, in Turgot's collected 
works, vol. iii. p. 33) : " Manage est un 
exemple frappant des absurdit^s dans 
lesquelles on tombe, en adoptant sans 
choix ce que suggere la malheureuse 
facilite' de supposer tout ce qui est pos- 
sible : car il est tres vrai qu'il ne fait 
aucune supposition dont la possibility 
ne soit justifiee par des examples. 
Mais nous avons prouve\ qu'en multi- 
pliant a volonte" les alterations inter- 
m^diaires, soit dans le son, soit dans la 
signification, il est aise de deliver un 
mot quelconque de tout autre mot 
donn6 : c'est le moyen d'expliquer tout, 
et dea-lors de ne rien expliquer ; c'est le 
moyen aussi de justifier tous les mepris 
de rignorance." 

Steinhart (Einleitung zum Kratylus, 
pp. 551-552) agrees with Stallbaum to 
a certain extent, that Plato in the 
Kratylus intended to mock and cari- 
cature the bad etymologists of his own 
day ; yet also th~at parts of the Kra- 
tylus are seriously intended. And he 
declares it almost impossible to draw 
a line between the serious matter and 
the caricature. 

It appears to me that the Platonic 
critics here exculpate Plato from the 
charge of being a bad etymologist, 
only by fastening upon him another 
intellectual defect quite as serious. 

Dittrich, in his Dissertation De Cra- 
tylo Platonis, Leipaic, 1841, adopts the 
opinion of Schleiermacher and tht 
other critics, that the etymological 
examples given in this dialogue, though 
Sokrates announces them as proving 
and illustrating his own theory serf- 


and caricature. We are now told that it was not Plato who mis- 
conceived the analogies, conditions, and limits, of etymological 
transition, but others ; whom Plato has here set himself to 
expose and ridicule, by mock etymologies intended to parody 
those which they had proposed as serious. If we ask who the 
persons thus ridiculed were, we learn that they were the Sophists,. 
Protagoras, or Prodikus, with others ; according to Sehleier- 
macher, Antisthenes among them. 1 

To me this modern discovery or hypothesis appears inad miss- 
Dissent *kle. It rests upon assumptions at best gratuitous, 
from this and in part incorrect : it introduces difficulties greater 
prooPthat than those which it removes. We find no proof that 
ever S ro- iStS ^ ie Sophists ever proposed such etymologies as those 
posed ety- which are here supposed to be ridiculed or that they 
mologies. Devoted themselves to etymology at all. If they 
etymologised, they would doubtless do so in the manner (to our 
judgment loose and fantastic) of their own time and of times 
long after them. But what ground have we for presuming that 
Plato's views on the subject were more correct 1 and that etymo- 
logies which to them appeared admissible, would be regarded by 
him as absurd and ridiculous ? 

Now if the persons concerned were other than the Sophists, 
scarcely any critic would have thought himself entitled to fasten 
upon them a discreditable imputation without some evidence. 
Of Prodikus we know (and that too chiefly from some sarcasms 
of Plato) that he took pains to distinguish words apparently, but 
not really, equivalent : and that such accurate distinction was 
what he meant by " rectitude of names " (Plato, Euthyd^m. 
277 E.) Of Protagoras we know that he taught, by precept 
or example, correct speaking or writing : but we have no in- 
formation that either of them pursued etymological researches, 

ously laid down, are really bitter jests 1 Schleiermacher, In trod, to Kratyl 

and mockery, intended to destroy it-;- pp. 8-16 ; Stallbaum, Proleg. ad Krat. 

" hanc sententiam facetissiniis et irri- p. 17. Winckelmann suspects that 

sione plenis exemplis, dum compro- Hermogenes in the Kratylus is intended 

bare videtur, revera infringit" (p. 12). to represent Antisthenes (Antisth. Frag- 

Dittrich admits that Kratylus, who meni p. 49). 

holds the theory derided, understands Lobeck (Aglaophamus, p. 866) says 

nothing of this acerUssima irrisio (p. that the Pythagoreans were among the 

18). lie thinks that Protagoras, not earliest etymologising philosophers, 

Prodikus nor Antisthenes, is the person proposing such etymologies as now 

principally caricatured (pp. 32-34-38). appear very absurd. 




successfully or unsuccessfully. 1 Moreover this very dialogue 
(Kratylus) contains strong presumptive evidence that the Pla- 
tonic etymologies could never have been intended to ridicule 
Protagoras. For these etymologies are announced by Sokrates as 
exemplifying and illustrating a theory of his own respecting 
names : which theory (Sokrates himself expressly tells us) is 
founded upon the direct negation of the cardinal doctrine of 
Protagoras. 2 That Sophist, therefore, could not have been ridi- 
culed by any applications, however extravagant, of a theory 
directly opposed to him. 3 

1 See a good passage of Winckel- 
mann, Prolegg. ad Platon. Euthy- 
demum, p. xlvii., respecting Protagoras 
and Prodikus, as writers and critics on ( 

Stallbaum says, Proleg. ad Krat. 
p. 11 : " Quibus verbis haud dubi& 
notantur Sophistse ; qui, neglectis 
linguae elemeiitis, derivatorum et com- 
positorum verborum originationem 
temerd ad suum arbitrium tracta- 
bant". Ibid. p. 4: "In Cratylo ineptae 
etymologise specimina exhibentur, ita 
quidem ut haudquaquam dubitare liceat, 
quin ista omnia ad mentem sophis- 
tarum maximeque Protagoreorum jocu- 
lari imitatione explicata sint ". 

In spite of these confident asser- 
tions, first, that the Sophists are the 
persons intended to be ridiculed, next, 
that they deserved to be so ridiculed 
Stallbaum has another passage, . 15, 
wherein he says, "Jam vero quinam 
fuerint philosophi isti atque etymologi, 
qui in Cratylo ridentur et exploduntur, 
vulgo parum exploratum hdbetur ". He 
goes on to say that neither Prodikus 
nor Antisthenes is meant, but Prota- 
goras and the Protagoreans. To prove 
this he infers, from a passage in this 
dialogue (c. 11, p. 391 C), that Prota- 
goras had written a book wept opflo-n/Tos 
rwv oi/o/xaTtof (Heindorf and Schleier- 
macher, with better reason, infer from 
the passage nothing more than the 
circumstance that Protagoras taught 
6p0oetreiai/ or correct speaking and 
writing). The passage does not prove 
this ; but if it did, what did Prota- 
goras teach in the book? Stallbaum 
tells us (p. 16) : " Jam si queeras, quid 
tandeni Protagoras ipse de nominum 
ortu censuerit, fateor und conjecturd ni- 



He then proceeds to conjecture, from 
the little which we know respecting 


Protagoras,\vhatthatSophistmiwtf have 
laid d6wn upon the origin of names ; 
and he finishes by assuming the very 
point which he ought to have proved 
(p. 17) : " ex ipso Cratylo intelligimus 
et cognoscimiis, mox inter Protagoras 
amicos exstitisse qui inept6 hsec studia 
persequentes, non e verbis et nomimbus 
mentis humanae notiones elicere et 
illustrare, sed in verba et nomina sua 
ipsi decreta transferre et sic ea pro- 
bare et connrmare niterentur. Quid 
quidem homines & Platpne hoc libro fa- 
cetissinid irrisione exagitantur," &c. I 
repeat, that in spite of Stallbaum's 
confident assertions, he fails in giving 
the smallest proof that Protagoras or 
the Sophists proposed etymologies such 
as to make them a suitable butt for 
Plato on this occasion. Ast also talks 
with equal confidence and equal 
absence of proof about the silly and 
arbitrary etymological proceedings of 
the Sophists, which (he says) this 
dialogue is intended throughout to 
ridicule (Ast, Platon's Leben und 
Schriften, pp. 253-254-264, &c.). 

2 Plato, Kratylus, c. 4-5, pp. 386-387. 

3 Lassalle (Herakleitos, vol. ii. pp. 
379-384) asserts and shows very truly 
that Protagoras cannot be the person 
intended to be represented by Plata 
under the name of Kratylus, or as 
holding the opinion of Kratylus about 
names. Lassalle affirms that Plato 
intends Kratylus in the dialogue to 
represent Herakleitus himself (p. 385) ; 
moreover he greatly extols the sagacity 
of Herakleitus for having laid down 
the principle, that "Names are the 
essence of things," in which principle 
Lassalle (so far as I understand mm 
himself concurs. 

Assuming this to be the case, we 
should naturally suppose that if Plato 
intends to ridicule any one, by pre- 



Suppose it then ascertained that Plato intended to ridicule and 
Plato did humiliate some rash etymologists, there would still 
not intend be no propriety in singling out the Sophists as his 
mocketymo- victims except that they are obnoxious names, against 

logics, or to whom every unattested accusation is readily believed. 
deride any ^ . . . x 

one. Prota- But it is neither ascertained, nor (in my judgment) 

probable, that Plato here intended to ridicule or 
anv one - The ridicule, if any was in- 
Hermogenes tended, would tell against himself more than against 
i!u undent" others. For he first begins by laying down a general 
stand the theory respecting names : a theory unquestionably 
etymologies j j j j A j A \ -UXT. 

as carica- propounded as serious, and understood to be so by the 

ture. critics : 1 moreover, involving some of his favourite 

and peculiar doctrines. It is this theory that his particular 
etymologies are announced as intended to carry out, in the way 
of illustration or exemplification. Moreover, he undertakes to 
prove this theory against Hermogenes, who declares himself 
strongly opposed to it : and he proves it by a string of arguments 
which (whether valid or not) are obviously given with a serious 
and sincere purpose of establishing the conclusion. Immediately 
after having established that there was a real rectitude of names, 
and after announcing that he would proceed to enquire wherein 
such rectitude consisted, 2 what sense or consistency would there 
be in his inventing a string of intentional caricatures announced 
as real etymologies? By doing this, he would be only dis- 
crediting and degrading the very theory which he had taken so 
much pains to inculate upon Hermogenes. Instead of ridiculing 
Protagoras, he would ridicule himself and his own theory for the 
benefit of opponents generally, one among them being Protagoras : 

senting caricatured etymologies as Protagoras did what he imputes to 

flowing from this principle.the person themTpp. 400-401-403-422). 
intended as butt must be Herakleitus M. Lenormant, in his recent edition of 

himself. Not so Lassalle. He asserts the Kratylus (Comm. p. 7-9), maintains 

as broadly as Stallbaum that it was also that neither the Sophists nor the 

Protagoras and the other Sophists who Rhetors pretended to etymologise, nor 

.grossly abused the doctrine of Hera- are here ridiculed. But he ascribes to 

kleitus, for the purpose of confusing Plato in the Kratylus a mystical and 

and perverting truth by arbitrary ety- theological purpose which I find it 

raologies. His language is even more difficult to follow. 
monstrous and extravagant than that , c^i^.., !,,. T*^ * 

of Stallbaum ; yet he dSes not produce nn l *** e }XJfl mS i 

(any more than Stallbaum) the least PP* 7 ' 10 ' LassaUe . Herakleit. i 
fragment of proof that the Sophists or a Plato, Kratylus, p. 391 B. 


who (if we imagine his life prolonged) would have had the satis- 
faction of seeing a theory, framed in direct opposition to his 
doctrine, discredited and parodied by his own advocate. Her- 
mogenes, too (himself an opponent of the theory, though not 
concurring with Protagoras), if these etymologies were intended 
as caricatures, ought to be made to receive them as such, and to 
join in the joke at the expense of the persons derided. But Her- 
mogenes is not made to manifest any sense of their being so 
intended : he accepts them all as serious, though some as novel 
and surprising, in the same passive way which is usual with the 
interlocutors of Sokrates in other dialogues. Farther, there are 
some among these etymologies plain and plausible enough, 
accepted as serious by all the critics. 1 Yet these are presented 
in the series, without being parted off by any definite line, along 
with those which we are called upon to regard as deliberate 
specimens of mock-etymology. Again, there are also some, which, 
looking at their etymological character, are as strange and sur- 
prising afe any in the whole dialogue : but which yet, from the 
place which they occupy in the argument, and from the plain 
language in which they are presented, almost exclude the sup- 
position that they can be intended as jest or caricature. 2 Lastly, 

i See, as an example, his derivation mogenea)are mere mockery and parody. 
of Ai<ftAo$ from Au ^t'Aof, p. 399: (Lassalle, Herakleitos der Dunkle, vol. 
om Sari 

, . 

M o v a- a, p. 406 : Baifuav, from Sariiuav, ii. pp. 402-403). 

p. 398 : for 'A < p o 8 C r ij he takes the I venture to say that none of those 

Hesiodic etymology, p. 406. "Aprj? Platonic etymologies, which Lassalle 

and apprjv (p. 407). His derivation regards as caricatures, are more absurd 

of al0if o An-b rov add4etv(p. 410) is than those which he here accepts as 

given twice by Aristotle (De Coelo, i. serious. Liddell and Scott in their 

3, p. 270, b. 22 ; Meteorol. i. 8, p. 339, Lexicon say about 0vfios, " probably 

b. 25) as well as in the Pseudo-Ari- rightly derived from 0vw by Plat. Crat. 

stotle, De Mundo, p. 392, a. 8. None 419 E, airb TTJS 0v<rec xal leareio? rifc 

of the Platonic etymologies is more tyvxw" The manner in which Schleier- 

strange than that of ^VYT?, quasi macher and Steinhart also (Einleit.zum 

<t>vo-exri t airo rov r^v <j>v<rtv oYeii/ <cal Kratylos, pp. 552-664), analysing this 

exetv (Kratyl. p. 400). Yet Proklus dialogue, represent Plato as passing 

cites this as serious, Scholia in Kraty- backwards and forwards from mockery 

lum, p. 4. ed. Boissonnade. Plato, in to earnest and from earnest to mockery, 

the Treatise De Legibus, derives xopos appears to me very singular : as well as 

from xapa and prfuo? from POV? or v6os the principle which Schleiermacher 

(ii. 1, p. 654 A, xii. 8, p. 967 D). lays down untroduct. p. 10), that Plato 

2 See Plato, Kratyl. p. 437 A-B. intended the general doctrines to be 

This occurs in the latter portion of seriously understood, and the particular 

the dialogue carried on by Sokrates etymological applications to be mere 

with Kratylus, and is admitted by mockery and extravagance (um wer 

Lassalle to be seriously meant by weiss welche Komodie atifzufiihren). 

Plato : though Lassalle maintains that What other philosopher has ever pro- 

the etymologies in the first part of the pounded serious doctrines, and then 

dialogue (between Sokrates and Her- followed them up by illustrations 




Kratylus, whose theory all these etymologies are supposed to be 
intended to caricature, is so far from being aware of this, that he 
cordially approves every thing which Sokrates had said. 1 

I cannot therefore accept as well-founded this " discovery of 
Plato in- modern times," which represents the Platonic etymo- 
tendedhis i gi es i n the Kratylus as intentionally extravagant 
serious, and and knowingly caricatured, for the purpose of ridi- 
ficltSas" culing the Sophists or others. In my judgment, 
admissible pi a t o did not put them forward as extravagant, nor 

guesses. He,, . A .,.,. i . 

does notcite for the purpose of ridiculing any one, but as genuine 

cases C as ar illustrations of a theory of his own respecting names, 

proofs of a It cannot be said indeed that he advanced them a& 

oniyasillus- proof of his theory : for Plato seldom appeals to 

what^e particulars, except when he has a theory to attack, 

means. When he has a theory to lay down, he does not gene- 

knovvingly and intentionally carica- 
tured so as to disparage the doctrines 
instead of recommending them ? 

Is is surely less difficult to believe 
that Plato conceived as plausible and 
admissible those etymologies which 
appear to us absurd. 

As a specimen of the view enter- 
tained by able men of the seventeenth 
century respecting the Platonic and 
Aristotelian etymologies, see the 
Institutiones Logicse of Burgersdicius, 
Lib. i. c. 25, not. 1. Lehrsch (Die 
Sprachphilosophie der Alten, Part i. p. 
34-35) agrees with the other com- 
mentators, that the Platonic etymo- 
logies in the Kratylus are caricatured 
to deride the boastful and arbitrary 
etymologies of the Sophists about 
language. But he too produces no 
evidence of such etymologies on the 
part of the Sophists; nay, what is 
remarkable, he supposes that lot/i 
Protagoras and Prodikus agreed in 
the Platonic doctrine that names were 
<f>v<T6i (see pp. 17-19). 

i Plato, Kratylus, p. 429 C. Stein- 
ha*t (Einleit. zum Krat. pp. 549-550) 
observes that both Kratylus and Her- 
mogenes are represented as under- 
standing seriously these etymologies 
which are now affirmed to be meant as 

As specimens of Plato's view re- 
specting admissible etymologies, we 
find him in Timaeus, p. 43 C, deriving 
al<r8ri<ri$ from aiVtrw : again in the 
same dialogue, p. 62 A, 0ep/x6s from 

714, we 

Kepjuo.Ti&ii'. In Legg. iv. 7 
have ryv TOV vov Stavo/m^v e 
oj>ra? i/o/Aor/. In ^Phsedrusf, p. 238 C, 
we find epws derived from 


Aristotle derives Scr^v? from t<ro<v?s, 
Histor. Animal, i. 13, p. 498, a. 22: 
also &UCUQV from St'xa, Ethic. Nikom. 
v. 7, 1132, a. 31 ; juetfveii/ pera TO 
9v6i.v, Athenseus, ii. 40. The Pseudo- 
Aristotelian treatise Hep! Kpo-/u,ov (p. 
401, a. 15) adopts the Platonic etymo- 
logy of Ata-Zrjva as 8C ov ^w/xev. 

Plutarch, De Primo Frigido, c. 9, 
p. 948, derives Kvefyas from xevbv 

The Emperor Marcus Antoninus 
derives alert's, the ray of the Sun, arb 
TOU KTeu/cr0ai, Meditat viii. 57. 

The Stoics, who were fond of etymo- 
logising, borrowed many etymologies 
from the Platonic Kratylus (Villoison, 
de TheologiA, Physic& Stoicorum, in 
Osann's edition of Cornutus De 
Natura Deorum, p. 512). Specimens 
of the Stoic etymologies are given by 
the Stoic Balbus in Cicero, De Nat. 
Deor. ij. 25-29 (64-73). 

Dahne (in his Darstellung der 
Judisch-Alexandrinischen Religions- 
Philosophie, i. p. 73 sea.) remarxs on 
the numerous etymologies not merely 
propounded, but assumed as grounds 
of reasoning by Philo Judeeus in com- 
menting upon the Pentateuch, etymo- 
logies totally inadmissible and often 



rally recognise the necessity of either proving or verifying it by 
application to particular cases. His proof is usually deductive 
or derived from some more general principle asserted d priori 
some internal sentiment enunciated as a self-justifying maxim. 
Particular examples serve to illustrate what the principle is, but 
are not required to establish its validity. 1 But I believe that he 
intended his particular etymologies as bond fide guesses, more or 
less probable (like the developments in the Timeeus, which he 2 
repeatedly designates as efcrfra, and nothing beyond) : some 
certain, spme doubtful, some merely novel and ingenious : such 
as would naturally spring from the originating afflatus of diviners 
(like Euthyphron, to whom he alludes more than once 8 ) who 
.stepped beyond the ordinary regions of human affirmation. 
Occasionally he proposes alternative and distinct etymologies : 

1 See some passages in this very 
dialogue, Krat. pp. 436 E, 437 C, 
438 C. 

Lassalle remarks that neither Hera- 
kleitus nor Plato were disposed to rest 
the proof of a general principle upon 
an induction of particulars (Herakleitos, 
p. 406). 

2 Spengel justly remarks (Art. Scr. 
p. 52) respecting the hypotheses of the 
Platonic commentators : " Platonem 
quidem liberare gestiunt, falsa, ironia, 
non ex animi sententiS, omnia in Cratylo 
prolata esse dicentes. Sed preeter alia 
multa et hoc neglexerunt viri docti, 
easdem verborum originationes, quas 
in Cratylo, in cteteris quoque dialogis, 
ubi nullus est facetiis locus, et seria 
oinnia aguntur, recurrere." 

This passage is cited by K. F. Her- 
mann, Gesch. und Syst. d. Platon. 
Phil. not. 474, p. 656. Hermann's own 
remarks on the dialogue (pp. 494-497) 
are very indistinct, but he seems to 
agree with Schleiennacher in singling 
out Antisthenes as the object of attack. 

The third portion of Lehrsch's work, 
Peber die Sprachphilosophie der Alien, 
cites numerous examples of the etymo- 
logies attempted by the ancients, from 
Homer downwards, many of them 
collected from the Etymologicon Mag- 
num. When we read the etymologies 
propounded seriously by Greek and 
Latin philosophers (especially the 
Stoic Chrysippus), literary men, jurists, 
and poets, we shall not be astonished 
at those found in the Platonic Kratylus. 
The etymology of b? a rov 0eiv, 

given in the Kratylus (p. 397 D), as 
well as in the Pythagorean Philolaus 
(see Boeckh, Philolaus, pp. 168-175), 
and repeated by Clemens Alexan- 
drinus, is not more ^absurd than 
that of Oeos airb TOU <?eu/at, given by 
Herodot. ii. 52, and also repeated by 
Clemens, see Wesseling's note. None 
of the etymologies of the Kratylus is 
more strange than that of Zei>s-Aia- 
Zr)va (p. 396 B). Yet this is repro- 
duced in the Pseudo-Aristotelian 
Treatise, Jlep! KOO-/U.OV (p. 401, a. 15), 
as well as by the Stoic Zeno (Diogen. 
Laert. vii. 147). The treatise of 
Cornutus, De Nat. Deor. with Osann's 
Commentary, is instructive in enabling 
us to appreciate the taste of ancient 
times as to what was probable 
or admissible in etymology. There 
are few of the etymologies in the 
Kratylus more j singular than that of 

ai/flpouTTOs from avadptov a oir<airev. Yet 

this is cited by Ammonius as a per- 
fectly good derivation, ad Aristot. De 
Interpret, p. 103, b. 8, Schol. Bekk., 
and also in the Etymologicon Mag- 

Compare Plato, Euthyphron, p. 
6 D. Origination and invention often 
pass in Plato as the workings of an 
ordinary mind (sometimes even a feeble 
mind) worked upon from without by 
divine inspiration, quite distinct from 
the internal force, reasoning, judging, 
testing, which belongs to a powerful 
mind. See Phsedrus, pp. 235 C, 238 D, 
244 A : Timaeus, p. 72 A ; Menon, p. 
81 A. 


feeling assured that there was some way of making out the con- 
clusion but not feeling equally certain about his own way of 
making it out. The sentiment of belief attaches itself in Plato's 
mind to general views and theorems : when he gives particular 
consequences as flowing from them, his belief graduates down 
through all the stages between full certainty and the lowest 
probability, until in some cases it becomes little more than a 
fanciful illustration like the mythes which he so often invents 
to expand and enliven these same general views. 1 

We must remember that Sokrates in the Kratylus explicitly 
Sokrates an- announces himself as having no formed opinion on 
jounces the subject, and as competent only to the prosecution 
Searcher. of the enquiry, jointly with the others. What he 
mSogistTof sa y s must therefore be received as conjectures pro- 
ancient posed for discussion. I see no ground for believing 
times ad- *, , , , , ,, , , , . . . _ 

mittedety- that he regarded any of them, even those which 

rashas eS "* a PP ear to us the strangest, as being absurd or extrava- 
thoseof gant or that he proposed any of them in mockery 
and caricature, for the purpose of deriding other 
Etymologists. Because these etymologies, or many of them at 
least, appear to us obviously absurd, we are not warranted in 
believing that they must have appeared so to Plato. They did 
not appear so (as I have already observed) to Dionysius of Hali- 
karnassus nor to Diogenes, nor to the Platonists of antiquity 
nor to any critics earlier than the seventeenth century. 2 By 

415, ad Phaedon, p. 114. reasonable interpretation of the pas- 

2 Dionys. Hal. De Comp. Verbor. c. sage. Cicero (Divinat. i. 1) alludes to 

16, p. 96, Reiske ; Plutarch, De Isid. the first of the two as Plato's real 

et Osir. c. 60, p. 375. opinion ; and Heindorf as well as 

Proklus advises that those who wish Schleiermacher accept it in the same 

to become dialecticians should begin sense, while expressing their surprise 

with the study of the Kratylus (Schol. at the want of etymological perspica- 

ad Kratyl. p. 3, ed Boiss.). city in Plato. Ast and Stallbaum, on 

We read: in the Phsedrus of Plato the contrary, declare that these two 

(p. 244 B), in the second speech as- etymologies are mere irony and mock- 

cribed to Sokrates, two etymologies : ery, spoken by Plato, ex mente Sophista- 

l. navriidi derived from n.avue*i by rum, and intended as a sneer at the 

the insertion of T, which Sokrates perverse and silly Sophists. No reason 

declares to be done in bad taste, ot is produced by Ast and Stallbaum to 

S* vvv aireipoitAAws rb rav e7r/u^lA- justify this hypothesis, except that you 

>vTts fjMvriK^v iAeo r av. 2. otwrt- cannot imagine "Platonem tarn caecum 

rwch, quasi otovoi'crTiKTj, from oiw<n?, fuisseS'&c. To me this reason is utterly 

ivs, lo-Topia. Compare the etymology insufficient ; and I contend, moreover, 


many of these critics they were deemed not merely serious, but 
valuable. Nor are they more absurd than many of the etymo- 
logies proposed by Aristotle, by the Stoics, by the Alexandrine 
critics, by Varro, and by the grammatici or literary men of anti- 
quity generally ; moreover, even by Plato himself in other dia- 
logues occasionally. 1 In determining what etymologies would 
appear to Plato reasonable or admissible, Dionysius, Plutarch, 
Proklus, and Alkinous, are more likely to judge rightly than we : 
partly because they had a larger knowledge of the etymologies 
proposed by Greek philosophers and grammatici than we possess 
partly because they had no acquaintance with the enlarged 
views of modern etymologists which, on the point here in 

that sneers at the Sophists would be M^Gaston Boissier (in his interest- 
quite out of place in a speech, such as ing Etude sur la vie et les Ouvrages 
the palinode of Sokrates about Eros. de M. Terentius Varron, p. 152, Paris, 

i See what Aristotle says about 1861) observes respecting Varro, what 

TXavTji in the first chapter of the is still more applicable to Plato: 

treatise De Coelo ; also about avro- " Gardens nous bien d'ailleurs de 

narov from WTO /t*aT>ji>, Physic, ii. 5, demandef a Varron ce qu'exige la 

p. 197, b. 30. science moderne : pour n'etre pas trop 

Stallbaum, after having compli- severes, remettons-le dans son e"poque 

mented Plato for his talent in cari- et jugeons-le avec 1'esprit de son terns, 

caturing the etymologies of others, II ne semble pas qu'alors on r^clamat, 

expresses his surprise to find Aristotle de ceux qui recherchaient les etymo- 

reproducing some of these very carica- logies, beaucoup d'exactitude et de 

tures as serious, see Stallbaum's note seve'ritk On se piquait mains d'arriver 

on Kratyl. p. 411 E. d Vorigine r6dle du mot, qiie de le dtcom- 

Respecting the etymologies proposed poser d'une mani&re ing&nieuse et qui en 

by learned and able Romans in and gravdtle sens dans la m&nioire. Les juris- 

before the Ciceronian and Augustan consultes eux-ra6mes, malgre* la gravit^ 

age, jElius Stilo, Varro, Labeo, Ni- de leur profession et 1'importance pra- 

gidms, &c., see Aulus Gellius, xiii. tique de leurs recherches, ne suivaient 

10 ; Quintilian, Inst. Or. i. 5 ; Varro, pas une autre methode. Trebatius 

de Lingua Latina. trouvait dans sacellum les deux mots 

Even to Quintilian, the etymologies sacra cella : et Labeonfaisait venir soror 

of Varro appeared preposterous ; and de seorsum, parceque la jeune fille se 

he observes, in reference to those pro- separe de le maison paternelle pour 

posed by JSlins Stilo and by others suivre son epoux : tout comme Nigidius 

afterwards, " Cui non post Varronem trouvoit dans /rater fert alter c y est a 

sit venia?" (i. 6, 37). This critical dire, un autre soi-m6me," &c. 
remark, alike good tempered and rea- Lobeck has similar remarks in his 

sonable, might be applied with still Aglaophamus (pp. 867-869) : " Sang 

greater pertinence to the Kratylus of ita J. Capellus veteres juris consultos 

Plato. In regard to etymology, more excusat, mutuum interpretantes quod 

might have been expected from Varro ex meo tuum fiat, testamentum autem 

than from Plato ; for in the days of testationem mentit, non quod earn ver- 

Plato, etymological guesses were almost borum originem esse putarent, sed ut 

a novelty ; while during the three aigniflcationem eorum altius in legen- 

centuries which elapsed between him tium animis defigerent. Similiterque 

and Varro, many such conjectures had ecclesiastic! quidam auctores, quum 

been hazarded by various scholars, and nomen Pascha a greeco verbo ir6.<r\<.v 

more or less of improvement might be repetunt, non per ignorantiam lapsi, 

hoped from the conflict of opposite sed allusionis quandam gratiom aucu- 

opinions and thinkers. pati videntur." 


question, are misleading rather than otherwise. Plato held the 
general theory that names, in so far as they were framed with 
perfect rectitude, held embodied in words and syllables a likeness 
or imitation of the essence of things. And if he tried to follow 
out such a theory into detail, without any knowledge of gram- 
matical systems, without any large and well-chosen collection of 
analogies within his own language, or any comparison of diffe- 
rent languages with each other he could scarcely fail to lose 
himself in wonderful and violent transmutations of letters and 
syllables. 1 

Having expressed my opinion that the etymologies propounded 

Continuance ky Sokrates in the Kratylus are not intended as cari- 

ofthedia- catures, but as bond fide specimens of admissible 

Creates etymological conjecture, or, at the least, of disco ver- 

endeavours a ble analogy I resume the thread of the dialogue. 

howlitis 11 These etymologies are the hypothetical links where- 

Names origi- ^ v Sokrates reconciles his first theory of the essential 

nally right rectitude of Names (that is, of Naming, as a process 

have become , . , , , , . 7 , A , 

so disguised which can only be performed in one way, and by an 

and spoiled. A^j^ wno discerns and uses the Name-Form), with 
the names actually received and current. The contrast between 
the sameness and perfection postulated in the theory, and the 
confusion of actual practice, is not less manifest than the contrast 
between the benevolent purposes ascribed to the Demiurgus (in 
the Timceus) and the realities of man and society : requiring 
intermediate assumptions, more or less ingenious, to explain or 
attenuate the glaring inconsistencies. Respecting the Name- 
Form, Sokrates intimates that it may often be so disguised by 
difference of letters and syllables, as not to be discernible by an 

i Grafenhahn (Gesch. d. classichen Lobeck remarks that the playing 

Philologie, vol. i. sect. 36, pp. 151-164) and quibbling with words, widely 

points out how common was the hypo- diffused among the ancient literati 

thesis of fanciful derivation of names or generally, was especially likely to 

supposed etymologies among the Greek belong to those who held the Platonic 

poets and how it passed from them to theory about language : " Is intelligat 

the prose writers. He declares that necesse est, hoc umversum genus ab- 

the etymologies in Plato not only in the antiquitatis ingenio non ahenum, ei 

them are serious (pp. 163-164). ' p. 8703. 


ordinary man, or by any one except an artist or philosopher. 
Two names, if compound, may have the same Name-Form, 
though few or none of the letters in them be the same. A 
physician may so disguise his complex mixtures, by apparent 
differences of colour or smell, that they shall be supposed by 
others to be different, though essentially the same. Beta is the 
name of the letter B : you may substitute, in place of the three 
last letters, any others which you prefer, and the name will still 
be appropriate to designate the letter B. 1 

To explain the foundations of the onomastic (name-giving 
or speaking) art, 2 we must analyse words into their L 
primordial constituent letters. The name-giving well as 
Artists have begun from this point, and we must 
follow in their synthetical track. We must dis- 
tinguish letters with their essential forms we must essential 
also distinguish things with their essential forms eacRS 
we must then assign to each essence of things that Le adapted 
essence of letters which has a natural aptitude to 
signify it, either one letter singly or several conjoined. The 
rectitude of the compound names will depend upon that of the 
simple and primordial. 8 This is the only way in which we can 
track out the rectitude of names : for it is no account of the 
matter to say that the Gods bestowed them, and that therefore 
they are right : such recourse to a Deus ex machind is only one 
among the pretexts for evading the necessity of explanation. 4 

Essential aptitude for signification consists in resemblance 
between the essence of the letter and that of the 
thing signified. Thus the letter Eho, according to wignificant 

Sokrates, is naturally apt for the signification of 
rush or vehement motion, because in pronouncing it 
the tongue is briskly agitated and rolled about. 
Several words are cited, illustrating this position. 5 Iota natu- 

1 Plato, Kratyl. pp. 303-394. toric. You must first distinguish all 

2 Plato, Kratyl. p. 425 A. rfj bvo- the different forms of mind then all 
/jiffo-TiicTf, ri p>jTopiKfl, ^ rjTts earrlv rj the different forms of speech ; you 
rev ion must assign the sort of speech which 

3 Plato, Kratyl. pp. 424 B-B, 426 A, is apt for persuading each particular 
434 A. sort of mind. Phaedrus, pp. 271-272. 

This extreme postulate of analysis * Plato, Kratyl. p. 425 E. 

and adaptation may he compared with s Plato, Kratyl. p. 426 D-E. Kpovctv, 

that which Sokrates lays down, in the Gpaveiv, epeiiceiv, &c. Leibnitz (Nou- 

Phaedrus, hi regard to the art of Ehe- veaux Essais BUT 1'Entendement Hu^ 


rally designates thin and subtle things, which insinuate them- 
selves everywhere. Phi, Chi, Psi, Sigma, the sibilants, imitate 
blowing. Delta and Tau, from the compression of the tongue, 
imitate stoppage of motion, or stationary condition. Lambda 
imitates smooth and slippery things. Nu serves, as confining 
the voice in the mouth, to form the words signifying in-doors 
and interior. Alpha and Eta are both of them large letters: 
the first is assigned to signify size, the last to signify length. 
Omicron is suited to what is round or circular. 1 

It is from these fundamental aptitudes, and some others 
analogous, that the name-giving Artist, or Lawgiver, first put 
together letters to compound and construct his names. Herein 
consists their rectitude, according to Sokrates. Though in 
laying down the position Sokrates gives it only as the best 
which he could discover, and intimates that some persons may 
turn it into derision yet he evidently means to be under- 
stood seriously. 2 

In applying this theory about the fundamental significant 
Sokrates aptitudes of the letters of the alphabet to show the 

assumes rectitude of the existing words compounded from them 
that the , J? ,, r . . A . 

Name-giv- Sokrates assumes that the name-giving Artists 

Sver*was a were believers in the Herakleitean theory : that is, 
believer in in the perpetual process of flux, movement, and 
kleitean*" transition into contraries. He cites a large variety 
theory. O f na mes, showing by their composition that they were 
adapted to denote this all-pervading fact, as constituting the 
essence of things. 3 The names given by these theorists to that 
which is good, virtuous, agreeable, &c., were compounded in such 

main, Book iii. ch. 2, p. 300 Erdm.) ; The comparison of the Platonic 

and Jacob Grimm (in his Dissertation) speculations on the primordial powers 

Ueber den Ursprung der Sprache, Ber- of letters, with those of a modern lin- 

lin, 1858, ed. 4) give views very similar guistic scholar so illustrious as Grimm 

to those of Plato, respecting the pri- (the earliest speculations with the 

mordial growth of language, and the latest) are exceedingly curiousand 

original significant or symbolising honourable to Plato. They serve as 

power supposed to be inherent in each farther reasons for believing that this 

letter (Kein Buchstabe, " ursprttnglich dialogue was not intended to carica- 

steht bedeutungslos oder ueberflttssig," ture Protagoras, 

pp. 89-40). Leibnitz and Grimm say 1 Plato, Kratyl. pp. 426-427. 

(as Plato here also affirms) that Bho 2 piato, Kratyl. pp. 426 B, 427 D. 

designates the Rough Lambda, the spiato, Kratyl. pp. 401 C 402 B. 

Smooth : see also what he says about 436 : s rov ircu/ro? IOVTOS re teal 

Alpha, Iota, Hypsilon. Compare, be- ^epopeVov KOU pe'oiro? ^a^v minaivetv 

sides, M. Benan. Orig. du Langage, vi. wlv iV ovo-ux? ra bvonara. Also p. 

p. 137. 439 B. 


a manner as to denote what facilitates, or falls in with, the law 
of universal movement : the names of things bad or hurtful, 
denote what obstructs or retards movement. 1 

Many names (pursues Sokrates), having been given by artistic 
lawgivers who believed in the Herakleitean theory, 
will possess intrinsic rectitude, if we assume that Name-Giver 
theory to be true. But how if the theory be not gjwnorS"- 
true ? and if the name-givers were mistaken on this competent 
fundamental point? The names will then not be 
right. Now we must not assume the theory to be 
true, although the Name-givers believed it to be so. his know- 
Perhaps they themselves (Sokrates intimates) having ledge ' 
become giddy by often turning round to survey the nature of 
things, mistook this vertige of their own for a perpetual revo- 
lution and movement of the things which they saw, and gave 
names accordingly. 2 A Name-Giver who is real and artistic is 
rare and hard to find : there are more among them incompetent 
than competent : and the name originally bestowed represents 
only the opinion or conviction of him by whom it is bestowed. 8 
Yet the names bestowed will be consistent with themselves, 
founded on the same theory. 

Again, the names originally bestowed differ much from those 
in use now. Many of them have undergone serious changes 
changes : there have been numerous omissions, addi- pg i( fX S ~ 

tions, interpolations, and transpositions of letters, introduced 

7 , , ,, j> t in the name 

from regard to euphony or other fancies : insomuch hard to 

that the primitive root becomes hardly traceable, *<>Uow. 
except by great penetration and sagacity. 4 Then there are 
some names which have never been issued at all from the 
mint of the name-giver, but have either .been borrowed from 
foreigners, or perhaps have been suggested by super-human 
powers. 5 

i Plato, Kratyl. pp. 415416417, &c. 3 Plato, Kratyl. p. 418 C. , OM* 

a Plato, Kratyl. pp. 429-411 C. otv on ntvov rovro Sji\oi rb *PX\<> V 

Amvrat fl) ov rb Mov rb irao* rjJtVt ovopa r^v tcm>iav rot e^vovf Also 

iraOos olnov tlvat ravrjy -rfr B6fa, <UA' p. 419 ^ A. RQA B Sflfl B 

avra rd irpdy/^ara otJra, m*wcfr, &C. 4 Plato, Kratyl. pp. 894 B, 899 B, 

* Plato, Kratyl. pp. 897 B, 409 B. 


To this point Sokrates brings the question during his conver- 
Sokr t sation with Hermogenes : against whom he maintains 
qualities That there is a natural intrinsic rectitude in Names, 
atel Wa enu " or a true Name-Form that naming is a, process 
original which must be performed in the natural way, and by 
an Artist who knows that way. But when, after 
laying clown this general theory, he has gone a certain length in 
applying it to actual names, he proceeds to introduce qualifica- 
tions which attenuate and explain it away. Existing namevS 
were bestowed by artistic law-givers, but under a belief in the 
Herakleitean theory which theory is at best doubtful : more- 
over the original names have, in course of time, undergone 
such multiplied changes, that the original point of significant 
resemblance can hardly be now recognised except by very pene- 
trating intellects. 

It is here that Sokrates comes into conversation with Kraty- 
lus : who appears as the unreserved advocate of the 
tion of same general theory which Sokrates had enforced 
upon Hermogenes. He admits all the consequences 

tyius: who O f the theory, taking no account of qualifications. 

upholds -.. . J} i II? i i j 

thatorigi- Moreover he announces himself as having already 
wlthouTany bestowed reflection on the subject, and as espousing 
qualifica- the doctrine of Herakleitus. 1 

If names are significant by natural rectitude, or by 
partaking of the Name-Form, it follows that all names must be 
right or true, one as well as another. If a name be not right, it 
cannot be significant : that is, it is no name at all : it is a mere 
unmeaning sound. A name, in order to be significant, must 
imitate the essence of the thing named. If you add any thing to 
a number, or subtract any thing from it, it becomes thereby a 
new number : it is not the same number badly rendered. So 
with a letter : so too with a name. There is no such thing as a 
bad name. Every name must be either significant, and therefore, 
right or else it is not a name. So also there is no such thing as 

i Plato Kratyl. pp. 428 B, 440 E. thing and only one thing signified by 

It appears that on this point the each name (Simplikius ad Aristot. 

opinion of Herakleitus coincided with Categ. p. 43, b. 32 Schpl. Bekk.). 
that of the Pythagoreans, who held In general Herakleitus differed from 

that names were <v<m al ov 0e<rei. Pythagoras, and is described as speak- 

and maintained as a corollary that ing of him with bitter antipathy. 
there could be only one name for each 




a false proposition : you cannot say the thing that is not : your 
words in that case have no meaning ; they are only an empty 
sound. The hypothesis that the law-giver may have distributed 
names erroneously is therefore not admissible. 1 Moreover, you 
see that he must have known well, for otherwise he would not 
have given names so consistent with each other, and with the 
general Heraldeitean theory. 2 And since the name is by neces- 
sity a representation or copy of the thing, whoever knows the 
name, must also know the thing named. There is in fact no 
other way of knowing or seeking or finding out things, except 
through their names. 3 

These consequences are fairly deduced by Kratylus from the 
hypothesis, of the natural rectitude of names, as laid sokrates 
down in the beginning of the dialogue, by Sokrates : f ^J, U1 
who had expressly affirmed (in his anti-Protagorean towards re- 
opening of the dialogue) that unless the process of Acting it 
naming was performed according to the peremptory dictates of 
nature and by one of the few privileged name-givers, it would be 
a failure and would accomplish nothing ; 4 in other words, that a 

i Plato, Kratyl. p. 429 B-C. ^ 

Sokr. JldvTa. apa TO. ovo/Aara 6p0ws 
Ketrai ; 

Krat. "O<ra ye ovd/uuxra corn. 

Stokr.TCoiiv; 'Epjao-yeVei rw6e irorspov 
/u.T)Se ovoju.a TOVTO jeetcr^at c^w/Key, et JU.TJ 
TC auT<j> 'Ep/xov yeve<retos Trpoer^/cec, TJ 
Kelcrdai fiev, ov /xeVnn opdaJ? ye; 

Krat. Oufie Ketcr0at e/Aot-ye Soxet, 

erepov TOVTO Toui/Ojixa, o^Trep Kai r) </>vo*t5 

i\ TO ovofia STjAoOo-a. 

The critics say that these last words 
ought to be read yv TO ovo^a. 5r?Aot, as 
Ficinus has translated, and Schleier- 
macher t after him. They are probably 
in the right ; at the same time, reason- 
ing upon the theory of Kratylus, we 
might say without impropriety, that 
" the thing indicates the name ". 

That which is erroneously called 
a bad name is no name at all (so 
Kratylus argues), but only seems to be 
a name to ignorant persons. Thus 
also in the Platonic Minos (c. 9, p. 317): 
a bad law is no law in reality, but only 
seems to be a law to ignorant men, see 
above, ch. xiv. p. 

Compare the like argument about 
vo/aos in Xenoph. Memorab. 1 2, 42-47, 
and Lassalle, Herakleitos, vol. ii. p. 392. 

* Plato, Krat. p. 436 a 'AAAa w 
oix OVTWS *XT?> aA\' avayicaiov f,, ei86ra 
Tt0e<70ai rov riQ^evov TO, ovo'/uuxTa et 
8 fwj, oTrep TrdAai eyw eAeyov, ov6' av 
bvofiaro. e<,7). Me'ytarov Se <rot ecrrw 
T^K^^IOV <m OVK eer^aArat rfc aA^- 
Oeias 6 TtOe finis os ou yap av irore ovria 
^v/x.<^>a>i/a f)v ai/rcu aTrai/ra. ij o v K 
evevoe^cs auTos^Aeytu^a)? Trai/ra 

feTo Ta bvo/jiara.; 

These last words allude to the 
various particular etymologies which 
had been enumerated by Sokrates as 
illustrations of the Herakleitean theory. 
They confinh the opinion above ex- 
pressed, that Plato intended his etymo- 
logies seriously, not as mockery or 
caricature. That Plato should nave 
intended them as caricatures of Prota- 
goras and Prodikus, and yet that he 
should introduce Kratylus as welcom- 
ing them in support of his argument, 
is a much greater absurdity tnan the 
supposition that Plato mistook them 
for admissible guesses. 

v-** m ^ 
' Krat ' c - n1 ' PP- . 

4 Plato, Kratyl. p. 387 C. i&v S* /uw, 
ea/u.apT>70*eTai re KOI ovfiev Troirjcret. 
Compare p. 389 A. 


non-natural name would be no name at all. Accordingly, in 
replying to Kratylus, Sokrates goes yet farther in retracting his 
own previous reasoning at the beginning of the dialogue though 
still without openly professing to do so. He proposes a com- 
promise. 1 He withdraws the pretensions of his theory, as peremp- 
tory or exclusive ; he acknowledges the theory of Hermogenes as 
true, and valid in conjunction with it. He admits that non- 
natural names also, significant only by convention, are available 
as a make-shift and that such names are in frequent use. Still 
however he contends, that natural names, significant by likeness, 
are the best, so far as they can be obtained : but inasmuch as 
that principle will not afford sufficiently extensive holding- 
ground, recourse must be had by way of supplement to the less 
perfect rectitude (of names) presented by customary or conven- 
tional significance. 2 

You say (reasons Sokrates with Kratylus) that names must be 
significant by way of likeness. But there are degrees 
names of likeness. A portrait is more or less like its ori- 
wlJrse n<l g* na l> but it is never exactly like : it is never a dupli- 

moreiike.or ca te, nor does it need to be so. Or a portrait, which 
less like to ,, , , , , , , * 

the things really belongs to and resembles one person, may be 
Neural erroneously assigned to another. The same thing 

Names are happens with names. There are names more or less 

the best 

but they like the thing named good or bad : there are names 

waysbe al " good with reference to their own object, but erro- 
hal Names neously fitted on to objects not their own. The name 
significant does not cease to be a name, so long as the type or 
thougbJin f rm f *ke tn i n g named is preserved in it : but it is 
an inferior worse or better, according as the accompanying fea- 
way * tures are more or less in harmony with the form. 3 

If names are like things, the letters which are put together to 
form names, must have a natural resemblance to things as we 
remarked above respecting the letters Rho, Lambda, &c. But 
the natural, inherent, powers of resemblance and significance, 

1 Plato, Kratyl. p. 480 A. <f>tpe 6^, rtp <f>opTiK<p TOVTOJ irpocr^prjoflat, rfi vv- 
<xv irp 8taAA<xxdwj*ev, & KparvXe, &C. ft}*!)* ets oi/OfAarwi/ opdorqra* eiret ttrws 

2 Plato, Krat. p. 485 C. e/nol i*.tv o$v KO.TO. ye rb 8vva.rbv icaAAioT' av X^yotro, 
K<U OVT<J> ap&neet fi,v * a< a rb^ ivvarbv orav f) iracriv T) <a ( TrAet<rrois ojmoiots 

' * 

, ^ ( 

o/utoia elvat rot ovrf/utara rots irpay/utacrti' Xe'yrjrat, TOUTO fi* earl 

t iifc a? aA.w0u>s y\TXpa 1? *> ^ aiarxicrra 8e TOVVWTI'OV. 
> -njs 6/AoJnjT05, avaynatov 5* $ *cal Plato, Kratyl. pp. 432-434. 


which we pronounced to belong to these letters, are not found 
to pervade all the actual names, in which they are employed. 
There are words containing the letters Rho and Lambda, in a 
sense opposite to that which is natural to them yet nevertheless 
at the same time significant ; as is evident from the fact, that you 
and I and others understand them alike. Here then are words 
significant, without resembling: significant altogether through 
habit and convention. We must admit the principle of conven- 
tion as an inferior ground and manner of significance. Resem- 
blance, though the best ground as far as it can be had, is not the 
only one. 1 

All names are not like the things named : some names are 
bad, others good : the law-giver sometimes gave names All names 
under an erroneous belief. Hence you are not war- tiSen? wi5l 

ranted in saying that things must be known and the theory 
investigated through names, and that whoever knows kleitus :" 

the name, knows also the thing named. You say opposedto 
that the names given are all coherent and grounded it. 
upon the Herakleitean theory of perpetual flux. You take this 
as a proof that that theory is true in itself, and that the law- 
giver adopted and proceeded upon it as true. I agree with you 
that the law-giver or name-giver believed in the Herakleitean 
theory, and adapted many of his names to it : but you cannot 
infer from hence that the theory is true for he may have been 
mistaken. 2 Moreover, though many of the existing names con- 
sist with, and are based upon, that theory, the same cannot be 
said of all names. Many names can be enumerated which are 
based on the opposite principle of permanence and stand-still. 
It is unsafe to strike a balance of mere numbers between the 
two : besides which, even among the various names founded on 
the Herakleitean theory, you will find jumbled together the 
names of virtues and vices, benefits and misfortunes. That 
theory lends itself to good and evil alike ; it cannot therefore 

1 Plato, Kratvl. pp. 434-435. *ai avrol OVTW Siavovidijv at 

2 Plato. Kratyl. p. 439 B-C. "Ere rb 5', el erv^ev, ov\ OVTOIS fy et *KC- 
roiwv T<JSe <r*e^wfte0a, oirws ftij wjjias These words appear to me to imply 
rd iroAAa ravra ovo/mara ^ ravrbv that Sokrates Is perfectly serious, and 
TctvovTa Carrara, KCU T<J> OPTI ju.iv ot not ironical, in delivering his opinion, 
(MIMVOI aura fitapoijdli'Tef re that the original imposers of names 
SQevro of? I6vriv arravruiv ael teal were believers in the Herakloitean 
peovTtoi/ < aivovr at, yap cpotye theory. 


be received as true whether the name-giver believed in it 
or not. 1 

Lastly, even if we granted that things may be known and 
It is not studied through their names, it is certain that there 
Tha^ThS? s mus ^ ^ e some other way of knowing them ; since 
can only the first name-givers (as you yourself affirm) knew 
through 11 things, at a time when no names existed. 2 Things 
their names. mav b e known and ought to be studied, not through 
names, but by themselves and through their own affinities. 8 

Sokrates then concludes the dialogue by opposing the Platonic 

ideas to the Herakleitean theory. I often dream of 

able Plato- or imagine the Beautiful per se, the Good per se, and 

opposecHo" suc ^ ^e exigences or Entia. 4 Are not such exis- 

theHera- tences real? Are they not eternal, unchangeable 

flux, which and stationary ? Particular beautiful things par- 

respect?ng y ^ cu ^ ar g& things are in perpetual change or flux : 

sensible but The Beautiful, The Good The Ideas or Forms 

* of these and such like remain always what they are, 

always the same. 

The Herakleitean theory of constant and universal flux is true 
respecting particular things, but not true respecting these Ideas 
or Forms. It is the latter alone which know or are known : it 
is they alone which admit of being rightly named. For that 
which is in perpetual flux and change can neither know, nor be 
known, nor be rightly named. 5 Being an ever-changing subject, 
it is never in any determinate condition : and nothing can be 

1 Plato, Krat. pp. 437-438 C. ' * Plato, Krat. p. 439 C-D. mtyat i> 
Sokrates here enumerates the parti- eywye TroAAdfas ofeipwrTw, mJTepov 

cular names illustrating his judgment. <>a>ju,ev TI etvcu OUTO KaAov KOA ayatibv Kal 

However strange the verbal transitions eV ZKCLO-TOV r>v OVTWV OVTWS, ?) w ; . . . 
and approximations may appear to us, /u,?) el irp6<r<arr6v rC e<rri ica\bv % TI, 

I think it clear that he intends to be r&v TOIOVTWI/. /cal So*et ravra irtora. 

understood seriously. pelv aAA' avrb rb Ka\bv ov TOtovroi' 

2 Plato, Krat. p. 438 A-B. Kratylus &ei ^^ 16 ^^' . 

that up P on that supposition alf the ft "* *'*?!" " "?x ( 

names must have been imposed upon ^^^^^^11^ ^LT/ 

the same theory : there could not have ^^ y*W*<#<u. *<u v {u VMt K ai M K*T<, 

nImeanLrther diCti n "^ ^ !>^"fr'^ - V-^ V ** 

3 Plato, Krat. pp. 438-439. ^ 438 E : f 'AAA' ovfie yvuxrw eli/at ^di/at el/toy, 
fit' /iAAwAwv^ye, et rrjj $vyyvij ecrrt, cai el fueTairtirrei iravra xP^ara /eat /mrjfiev 

avri St auTWf. /x^vet. 


known which is not in a determinate condition. The Form of 
the knowing subject, as well as the Form of the known object, 
must both remain fixed and eternal, otherwise there can be no 
knowledge at all. 

To admit these permanent and unchangeable Forms is to deny 
the Herakleitean theory, which proclaims constant Heraklei- 
and universal flux. This is a debate still open and 

not easy to decide. But while it is yet undecided, no assumed 

i , . . i T . A f .^i ascertain. 

wise man ought to put such implicit laitn in names We must 

and in the bestowers of names, as to feel himself 
warranted in asserting confidently the certainty of ui names. 
the Herakleitean theory. 1 Perhaps that theory is true, perhaps 
not. Consider the point strenuously, Kratylus. Be not too easy 
in acquiescence for you are still young, and have time enough 
before you. If you find it out, give to me also the benefit of 
your solution. 2 

Kratylus replies that he will follow the advice given; but that 
he has already meditated on the matter, and still adheres to 
Herakleitus. Such is the close of the dialogue. 

One of the most learned among the modern Platonic commen- 
tators informs us that the purpose of Plato in this 
,., ,, , , i 4. j^.1. Remarks 

dialogue was, "to rub over Protagoras and other upon the 

Sophists with the bitterest salt of sarcasm ". 3 I have DfoLeSt*' 

already expressed my dissent from this theory, which from the 

, , ,," . ,, ., X. , opinion of 

is opposed to all the ancient views of the dialogue, stallbaum 

and which has arisen, in my judgment, only from the thaUUsf 8 ' 
anxiety of the moderns to exonerate Plato from the intended to 
reproach of having suggested as admissible, etymo- tagorasand 
logics which now appear to us fantastic. I see no 
derision of the Sophists, except one or two sneers 

1 Plato, Kratyl. p. 440 C. Tavr' o$v etSora, Kal avrov r ical rS>v ovruv 

ir6repov wore OVTWS X et > $ *ctvs '$ ot yiyvunnceiv, u>? ov&ev v-ytc? ovScvos, aAAa 

irepl 'Hpaic AeiTov re Myovirt *al aAAot irdvra wo-Trep fcepauta pet, &C. 

TToAAot, /*Tj ov p$Stov ^ eirtcr/ce>acrdai, 2 Plato, Kratyl. p. 440 D. 

ovfi^ irdw vovv YOVTOS av& puirov s Stallbaum, Proleg. ad KratyL p. 18 

iiriTpetyavrtt OVO^CKTLV avrbv "quos Plato hoc libro acerbiasimo 

*at r^v avrov \}JV\Y)V Q epa- sale perfricandos statuit". Schleier- 

Trcve iv, iremcrTevKora e/cetrots teal rot; macher also tells us (Einleitung, pp. 

0e/xeVois avra, $ti<rxvpie<rOaL<. &? rt 17-21) that "Plato had much delight 



against Protagoras and Prodikus, upon the ever-recurring theme 
that they took money for their lectures. 1 The argument against 
Protagoras at the opening of the dialogue whether conclusive or 
not is serious and not derisory. The discourse of Sokrates is 
neither that of an anti-sophistical caricaturist, on the one hand 
nor that of a confirmed dogmatist who has studied the subject 
and made up his mind on the other (this is the part which he 
ascribes to Kratylus) 2 but the tentative inarch of an enquirer 
groping after truth, who follows the suggestive promptings of 
his own invention, without knowing whither it will conduct 
him : who, having in his mind different and even opposite points 
of view, unfolds first arguments on behalf of one, and next those 
on behalf of the other, without pledging himself either to the 
one or to the other, or to any definite scheme of compromise 
between them. 8 Those who take no interest in such circuitous 
gropings and guesses of an inquisitive and yet unsatisfied mind 
those who ask for nothing but a conclusion clearly enunciated 
along with one or two affirmative reasons may find the dialogue 
tiresome. However this may be it is a manner found in many 
Platonic dialogues. 

Sokrates opens his case by declaring the thesis of the Absolute 
Theory laid (Object sine Subject), against the Protagorean thesis 
iokr n ate y s a of the Relative (Object cum Subject). Things have 
ri, in the an absolute essence: names have an absolute essence : 4 

in heaping a full measure of ridicule dependant on or relative to the know- 

upon his enemy Antisthenes ; and that ledge or belief of the Name-givers. 

he at last became tired with the exu- Kratylus, pp. 397 B, 399 A, 401 A-B, 

berance of his own philological jests ". 411 B, 436 B. 

Lassalle shows, with much force, that The like doctrine is affirmed in the 

the persons ridiculed (even if we grant Republic, vi. p. 615 B. 8i)\ov OT^ 6 

the derisory purpose to be established) fleftevos Trpwros TO. 6 yd/mar a, ota ^yeiro 

in the Kratylus, cannot be Protagoras elvox ra irpa.yno.ra, roiavra. erCOcro teal 

and the Protagoreans (Herakleitos, TO. 6v6/*ara. 

vol. ii. pp. 876-384). Leibnitz conceived an idea of a 

1 Plato, Kratyl pp. 384 B, 391 B. " Lingua Characterica Universalis, quee 

2 Plato, Kratyl. pp. 428 A, 440 D. simul sit ars inveniendi et judicandi '* 
8 Plato, Kratyl. pp. 384 C. 391 A. (see Leibnitz Opp. Erdmann, pp. 162- 

<rvi?Tetv cTotjufc i/uu *al <rol KCU Kpa- 163), and he alludes to a conception of 

TvAw Kowfi . . . on OVK tiSctijv aXAol Jacob Bbhme, that there once existed 

oxejroi'juw JAT<X <roO. a Lingua Adamica or Natur-Sprache, 

4 One cannot but notice how Plato, through which the essences of things 

shortly after having declared war might be contemplated and under- 

against the Relativity affirmed by Pro- stood. "Lingua Adamica vel certe 

tagoras, falls himself into that very vis ejus, quam quidam se nosse, et in 

track of Relativity when he comes to nominibus ab Adamo impositis esaen- 

speak about actual language, telling tias rerum intueri posse contendunt 

us that names are imposed on grounds nobis cerfoS igiiota est " (Opp. p. 93). 




bring it into 

each name belongs to its own thing, and to no other : first part 
this is its rectitude : none but that rare person, the 
artistic name-giver, can detect the essence of each 
thing, and the essence of each name, so as to apply the 
name rightly. Here we have a theory truly Platonic : 
impressed upon Plato's mind by a sentiment a priori, 
and not from any survey or comparison of particulars. Accord- 
ingly when Sokrates is called upon to apply his theory to exist- 
ing current words, and to make out how any such rectitude can 
be shown to belong to them he finds the greatest divergence 
and incongruity between the two. His ingenuity is hardly 
tasked to reconcile them : and he is obliged to have recourse to 
bold and multiplied hypotheses. That the first Name- Givers 
were artists proceeding upon system, but incompetent artists 
proceeding on a bad system they were Herakleiteans who 
believed in the universality of movement, and gave names 
having reference to movement : T That the various letters of the 
alphabet, or rather the different actions of the vocal organism by 
which they are pronounced, have each an inherent, essential, 
adaptation, or analogy to the phenomena of movement or arrest 
of movement : 2 That the names originally bestowed have be- 
come disguised by a variety of metamorphoses, but may be 

Leibnitz seems to have thought that 
it was possible to construct a philo- 
sophical language, based upon an 
Aiphabetum Cogitationum Ilumana- 
rum, through which problems on all 
subjects might be resolved, by a cat- 
culm like that which is employed for 
the solution of arithmetical or geome- 
trical problems (Opp. p. 83 ; compare 
also p. 356). 

This is very analogous to the affir- 
mations of Sokrates, in the first part 
of the Kratylus, about the essentiality 
of Names discovered and declared by 
the vo/u,o0e'n7s Te\viic6s. 

1 Plato, Kratyl. p. 430 D. 

2 Plato, Krat. pp. 424425. Schleler- 
macher declares this to be among the 
greatest and most profound truths 
which have ever been enunciated about 
language (Introduction to Kratylus, p. 
11). Stallbaum, on the contrary, re- 
gards it as not even seriously meant, 
but mere derision of others (Prolegg. 
ad Krat. p. 12). Another commentator 
on Plato calls it "erne Lehre der So- 

phistischen Sprachf orscher " (August' 
Arnold, Einleitung in die Philosophic 
(lurch die Lehre Platens vermittelt 
p. 178, Berlin, 1841). 

Proklus, in his Commentary, says 
that the scope of this dialogue is to 
exhibit the imitative or generative 
faculty which essentially belongs to 
the mind, and whereby the mind (aided 
by the vocal or pronunciative imagi- 
nation \KTtK^ ipavTaeria) constructs 
names which aretiatural transcripts of 
the essences of things (Proklun, nchol. 
ad Kratyl. pp. 1-21 ed. Boissonnade; 
AlkinoiiB, Introd. ad Platon. c. 6). 

Ficinus, too, in his argument to the 
Kratylus Cp. 768), speaks much about 
the mystic sanctity of names, re- 
cognised not merely by Pythagoras 
and Plato, but also by the Jews and 
Orientals. He treats the etymologies 
in the Kratylus as seriously intended. 
He says not a word about any inten- 
tion on the part of Plato to deride the 
Sophists or any other Etymologists. 

So also Sydenham, in bfa transla- 


brought back to their original by probable suppositions, and 
shown to possess the rectitude sought. All these hypotheses are 
only violent efforts to reconcile the Platonic d priori theory, in 
some way or other, with existing facts of language. To regard 
them as intentional caricatures, would be to suppose that Plato 
is seeking intentionally to discredit and deride his own theory of 
the Absolute : for the discredit could fall nowhere else. We see 
that Plato considered many of his own guesses as strange and 
novel, some even as laying him open to ridicule. 1 But they 
were indispensable to bring his theory into something like 
coherence, however inadequate, with real language. 

In the second part of the dialogue, where Kratylus is intro- 
duced as uncompromising champion of this same 
theory, Sokrates changes his line of argument, and 
of Sokrates impugns the peremptory or exclusive pretensions of 
half of the the theory : first denying some legitimate corollaries 
he a dSr^ from it next establishing by the side of it the 
nectshis counter-theory of Hermogenes, as being an inferior 
Naming though indispensable auxiliary yet still continuing 
Heraklel- ^ uphold it as an ideal of what is Best. He concludes 
tean doc- by disconnecting the theory pointedly from the doc- 
trine of Herakleitus, with which Kratylus connected 
it, and by maintaining that there can be no right naming, and 
no sound knowledge, if that doctrine be admitted. 2 The Platonic 
Ideas, eternal and unchangeable, are finally opposed to Kratylus 
as the only objects truly knowable and nameable and therefore 
as the only conditions under which right naming can be realised. 
The Name-givers of actual society have failed in their task by 
proceeding on a wrong doctrine : neither they nor the names 
which they have given can be trusted. 3 The doctrine of per- 

tion of Plato's PhilSbus (p. 33), de- women, which others (he says) will 

signates the Kratylus as "a dialogue think ludicrous, but which he proposes 

in which is taught the nature of things, with the most thorough and serious 

as well the permanent as the transient, conviction. 

by a supposed etymology of Names 2 Plato, Kratyl. p. 439 D. *Ap' otiv 

and Words ". olov re irpocreiirelv avrb 6p0<os, el ael 

1 Plato, Kratyl. pp. 425 D, 426 B. v7reepxT<u ; 

Because Sokrates says that these ety- 3 Plato, Kratyl. p. 440 C. Compare 

mologies may appear ridiculous, we pp. 436 D. 439 B. 
are not to infer that he proposed them Lassalle contends that Herakleitus 

as caricatures ; see what Plato says in and his followers considered the know- 

the Bepublic, v. p. 452, about his own ledge of names to be not only indis- 

propositions respecting the training of pensable to the knowledge of things, 


petual change or movement is true respecting the sensible world 
and particulars, but it is false respecting the intelligible world 
or universals Ideas and Forms. These latter are the only 
things knowable : but we cannot know them through names : we 
must study them by themselves and by their own affinities. 

How this is to be done, Sokrates professes himself unable to 
say. We may presume him to mean, that a true Artistic Name- 
giver must set the example, knowing these Forms or essences 
beforehand, and providing for each its appropriate Name, or 
Name-Form, significant by essential analogy. 

Herein, so far as I can understand, consists the amount of 
positive inference which Plato enables us to draw 
from the Kratylus. Sokrates began by saying that 
names having natural rectitude were the only ma- ? 11 ?J ning ~~ 
terials out of which a language could be formed : he Giver ought 
ends by affirming merely that this is the best and ^with"" 
most perfect mode of formation : he admits that the Platonic 

x T . ,, . , , , , , , Ideas or Es- 

names may become significant, though loosely and sences, and 
imperfectly, by convention alone yet the best scheme ^n^mes 
would be, that in which they are significant by in- according to 
herent resemblance to the thing named. But this blances 
cannot be done until the Name-giver, instead of pro- JJJjJJ* 
ceeding upon the false theory of Herakleitus, starts 
from the true theory recognising the reality of eternal, unchange- 
able, Ideas or Forms. He will distinguish, and embody in 
appropriate syllables, those Forms of Names which truly re- 
semble, and have natural connection with, the Forms of 

Such is the ideal of perfect or philosophical Naming, as Plato 
conceives it disengaged from those divinations of the origin 
and metamorphoses of existing names, which occupy so much of 
the dialogue. 1 He does not indeed attempt to construct a body 

but equivalent to and essentially em- the Herakleitean opinions, coincides 

bodying that knowledge. (Herakleitos, very much with the course of the 

vol. ii. pp. 363-368-387.) See also a Platonic dialogue Kratylus, from its 

passage of Proklus, in his Commentary beginning to its end (Aristot. Meta- 

on the Platonic Parmenids, p. 476, phys. A. p. 987 a-b). 
ed. Stallbaum. 1 Deuschle (Die Platonische Sprach- 

The remarkable passage in the philosophic," p. 57) tells us that in this 

first book of Aristotle's Metaphysica, dialogue " Plato intentionally presented 

wherein he speaks of Plato and Plato's many of his thoughts in a covert or 

early familiarity with Kratylus and contradictory and unintelligible man- 




of true names & priori, but he sets forth the real nameable 
permanent essences, to which these names might be assimilated : 

ner ". (Vieles absichtlich verhtillt oder 
widersprechend und missverstandlich 
dargestellt wird.) 

I see no probability in such an 

Respecting the origin and primordial 
signification of language, a great variety 
of different opinions have been started. 

William von Humboldt (Werke, vi. 
80) assumes that there must have been 
some primitive and natural bond be- 
tween each sound and its meaning (i.e. 
that names were originally significant 
$vo--i), though there are very few par- 
ticular cases in which such connexion 
can be brought to evidence or even 
divined. (Here we see that the larger 
knowledge of etymology possessed at 
present deters the modern philologer 
from that which Plato undertakes in 
the Kratylus.) He distinguishes a 
threefold relation between the name 
and the thing signified. 1. Directly 
imitative. 2. Indirectly imitative or 
symbolical. 8. Imitative by one re- 
move, or analogical ; where a name 
becomes transferred from one object to 
another, by virtue of likeness between 
the two objects. (Ueber die Verschied- 
enheit des menschlichen Sprachbaues 
und ihren Einfluss auf die geistige Ent- 
wicklung des Menschengeschlechtes, 
p. 78, Berlin, 1836.) 

Mr. Hensleigh Wedgwood, in his 
Etymology of the English Language 
(see Prelim. Disc. p. 10 seq.), recog- 
nises the same imitative origin, and 
tries to apply the principle to particular 
English words. Mr. F. W. Farrar, in 
his recent interesting work (Chapters 
on Language) has explained and en- 
forced copiously the like thesis onoma- 
topoeic origin for language generally. 
He has combated the objections of Pro- 
fessor Max Miiller, who considers the 
principle to be of little applicability or 
avail. But M. Renan assigns to it not 
less importance than Mr. Wedgwood 
and Mr. Farrar. (See sixth chapter 
of his ingenious dissertation De 1* 
Origine duLangage, pp. 135-146-148.) 

'^Limitation, ouronomatope"e, parait 
avoir 6t& le proce'de' ordinaire d'apres 
lequel les premiers nomenclateurs f or- 
merent les appellations. . . D'ailleurs, 
comme le choix de 1'appellation n'est 
point arbitraire, et que mmaisrhomme 
ne se decide a assembler des sons au 
hasard pour en faire les signes de la 

pensde, on pent affirmer que de tons les 
mots actuellement usitds, il n'en estpas 
un seul qui n'ait eu set raison sujfflsante, 
et ne se rattache, a travers mille trans- 
formations, a une flection primitive. Or, 
le motif determinant pour le choix 
des mots a dft e"tre, dans la plupart 
des cas, le desir d'imiter 1'objet qu'on 
voulait exprirner. L'instinct de cer- 
tains ani